Keeping up with the technological advances of the modern day classroom can be dizzying for some people but not Laura Johnson, who embraces new tools to teach fourth grade students time-honored lessons in reading, math and science at Jensen Elementary School in Urbandale.
Whether she is filming her students while reading aloud to measure their progress or using her Smart Board (an electronic and dry erase whiteboard at the front of the class) to teach math and science problems, Johnson is grateful for new technologies she uses to educate her students.
“We’re lucky to have the technology that we have at Jensen,” she says. “Not every school has these advantages.”
Johnson, 26, says her students have benefitted from such technology.
“I take a lot of video, which the kids enjoy because they can see their progress. They like to look back at how they were at the beginning of the year so they can realize how much they’ve grown,” she says. “They also like using the Smart Board because the screen is like a computer mouse and it makes learning more interactive.”
Utilizing technology is just one part of the job that Johnson enjoys. The University of Northern Iowa graduate particularly likes working with fourth grade students because they are enthusiastic and independent learners.
“They’re old enough to be independent, but at the same time they like school and want to please you and do a good job,” Johnson says. “This year’s group of kids, for instance, is really smart and willing to work hard. They’ve done things I didn’t imagine they could do.”
Having completed her second year of teaching at Jensen, Johnson says she appreciates the students, staff and parents who make her job so enjoyable.
“I really like how we’re a big family here and how everyone does their best to help the students,” she says.