Teaching technology


Staff Writer

KINGSFORD – A Kingsford High School teacher is one of 12 state educators to be recognized for improving education through the use of technology – receiving either first place or runner-up awards.

The Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) presented the runner-up award to Jacqueline Leiker as the Outstanding Technology-Using Pre K-12 Classroom Teacher. The first place award went to Nicholas Provenzano of Grosse Pointe South High School.

Leiker received the award during the opening keynote address at the MACUL conference in Detroit. There were 13 staff members from Breitung Township Schools in attendance and nearly 5,000 teachers from around the state at this conference.

Leiker was nominated for the award for providing professional development to other teachers in the Breitung Township Schools district on how to use technology in the classroom to engage students.

“After attending the 2012 MACUL conference, I started ’20 Minute Professional Development for Busy Teachers’ and continue to run mini-sessions after school to show teachers how to use various web applications with their students,” Leiker said.

Leiker was nominated for the award by Jean Constantini, technology director.

“Mrs. Leiker has had a practical impact on student learning and has taught students how to utilize technology in a positive way for communication, academic achievement, and motivation,” Constantini said.

After the 2012 MACUL conference in Grand Rapids, Leiker led a group of BTS to the U.P. MACUL meeting in Manistique. Since then, she has met with other teachers after school to share technology tools.

“She has infused her confidence in other teacher-instructors so that they, too, have become successful technology leaders for the school. And since the sessions are only about 20 minutes long, they are well-attended by other teachers,” Constantini said.

Now, nearly every teacher is using at least one of the tools learned in the development sessions, she added.

KHS Principal Lyle Smithson agreed. “All of this was done through her own initiative and on her own time. She has changed the way our teaching staff approaches and uses technology to improve instruction for our students.”

Leiker has been a high school computer teacher for KHS since 1995 and is a current member of the MACUL. She also oversees the Michigan Virtual High School students at KHS and has been involved with fellow computer teacher, Nick Gayan, in using online tools in their computer classes and designing the curriculum to exceed the requirements of the Michigan Merit Curriculum for online learning.

In the nomination of Leiker, Constantini added that she has been a long-time supporter of the district’s goal to allow students to ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) to school. She regularly uses smart phones and other mobile devices to test student knowledge of materials used in her class.

“She continues to help staff understand the value that BYOD has for ‘any time, any place, any way, any pace’ learning,” Constantini said.

“She is uniquely passionate about the proper use of technology and using technology in all aspects of education. Student achievement and successful teachers who utilize technology are what motivates her,” Constantini said.

Smithson also praised her enthusiasm and caring for technology use in education. “She continues to go above and beyond her classroom duties to provide new and exciting technology skills to her students, peers and school administrators. She is an outstanding advocate for technology use and education.”

In addition, Leiker was involved in the effort of the BTS to pass a bond proposal in 2011 and serves on the BTS Technology Committee. She recently assisted the Norway-Vulcan Area Schools with evaluating technology needs and helping that school district to successfully pass a school bond. She also teaches the national and state technology standards to students in grades 9-12.

“Her passion for technology is truly remarkable, because it is contagious. She has confidence in her knowledge and is more than willing to share as much of it as she can,” Constantini said.

Smithson also recognized Leiker’s efforts in moving forward with 21st century technology and education. “Her impact on the progress Kingsford High School has made in this area is truly amazing.”

Fellow KHS English-language arts teacher Kendalynn Sutton also recognized Leiker’s work for the school district.

“With her passionate dedication to making our school district the tech savvy district we have now become, none of us would know what a Delicious account is, how Edmodo can be used to engage our students, how VoiceThread can be used for collaboration, that Twitter can be used as a Professional Learning Community, that we can receive immediate feedback of student learning through Socrative or through Google Docs surveys, or that we can screencast our lessons for students to view at any time,” Sutton said.

Leiker received her bachelor of science degree in education in 1992 from Central Michigan University and her master of arts in education degree in 1993 from Viterbo University in LaCrosse, Wis.

Her webpage can be found at jleiker.weebly.com.

Linda Lobeck’s email address is llobeck@ironmountaindailynews.com.