Concord elementary teacher recognized for classroom creativity

Jill Kaufman teaches third grade at Concord Ox Bow Elementary. She is just one of just nine teachers statewide who were recognized by the Indiana University School of Education recently.

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 7:20 p.m.

Jill Kaufman thinks technology in the classroom is pretty much essential.

Her determination to teach creatively using technology is part of why she was recently selected for the Indiana University School of Education Armstrong Teacher Educator award.

Just eight other Indiana teachers received the award.

According to a press release from IU School of Education, Kaufman “integrates technology that can inspire, motivate and engage the students.”

Her students at Concord Ox Bow Elementary use computers, an iPad and a smart board in class. They've also become interested in shooting and editing video this year, which they do each week during a 45-minute project period.

“To me, technology is so crucial because that’s where (students) live,” Kaufman said. “They need to learn to use technology to better the world instead of … not. Kids are wired to work that way, so it’s very motivational.”

The longtime teacher hasn't always loved using technology.

Until hearing a speaker at an education workshop talk about it about 10 years ago, Kaufman said she had no idea how to use technology in teaching.

But since she started doing it, she’s noticed students are more engaged.

“They love taking pictures, writing about the pictures and putting it into movie form,” Kaufman said. “They love PowerPoint, so we do a lot of projects with PowerPoint.”

She feels that integrating technology in subjects like math and reading is something that will prepare students to be lifelong learners.

“My big thing is, with testing these days, it can become very narrowly focused on responding like the test would like you to respond,” she explained. “The danger is that can take over...we need to be honoring the small people in our classroom and helping develop creativity...because those things are not measured on the test.”

Kaufman has been a teacher since 1989 and she’s worked at Concord schools for about 16 years. 

The Armstrong award means that she will get the opportunity to participate in professional development and work with IU faculty and students studying to be teachers during the next year, according to IU School of Education.

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks

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