By Renee Larr
Towne Meadow Elementary fourth-grade teacher Josie McKay has been selected as a PBS Digital Innovator for 2017. She is among 52 educators nationally to receive the honor for her use of technology in the classroom. She will work throughout the next year as a liaison between PBS and teachers in Indiana.
“I’ll be available to help teachers who want to become more innovative or incorporate technology in their classroom,” McKay said. “I just want to encourage them to jump in with two feet, because there is so much that we can learn and do to excite our students.”
McKay utilizes different types of technology, such as green screens to break out of the pencil-and-paper mold of class projects. Her students learn geography by virtually visiting different areas via Skype.
“My favorite thing that we do right now is called Mystery Skype. We connect with classrooms all over the world. We’ve visited 19 states, Ireland and New Zealand,” McKay said. “We guess where they are located based on geography questions. Then at the end we get to learn a little about where they are from, and they get to learn about Indiana and Carmel, specifically.”
The use of technology isn’t only for students but for parents.
“We use a classroom management tool called Class Dojo. I post pictures of what we do each day. It’s only available to my students and their parents,” McKay said. “They can go home and ask their kids about about how we visited with Wyoming today. It really opens up dialogue between the parents and kids.”
McKay was delighted receive the award.
“I feel very honored and blessed to be selected among all the applicants. I’m humbled. I never thought I would be selected. I’m just very appreciative and I hope that I do the position justice,” McKay said.
For more, visit pbs.org/education/digitalinnovators/class-of-2017.