PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Since 2015, the Pascagoula-Gautier School District has hosted free training called “Tech Camp for Teachers” across the state. Normally, over 300 teachers travel to South Mississippi for in-person sessions, but due to COVID-19, this is the first year that the camp will be held virtually through a private Facebook page.
“Going online has really allowed us to connect with so many more teachers and to provide that desperately needed technology training, and it’s sometimes difficult for teachers to get the training that they need,” said Pascagoula-Gautier School District Technology Director Eva Harvell.
The camp lasts for two days, and on day one, more than 1,800 teachers in seven states, including Mississippi, joined the watch party. Within the two days, teachers will take part in over 30 sessions, which help educators earn continuing education credits also known as continuing education units (CEUs).
“CEUs are a very hot commodity for teachers. We have to have those to renew our license. With a lot of face-to-face sessions being canceled, we definitely wanted to make sure we offered plenty of CEUs for teachers are going to be spending the next two days in front of a computer,” Harvell said.
The PGSD partnered with William Carey University to offer continuing education units for those in attendance. Participants included not only classroom teachers, but school board members and in-service teachers.
Harvell said with so many uncertainties for the upcoming school year, it’s important for all teachers to be up-to-date on the latest technology. That makes the tech camp more important than ever.
“It’s just a way for us to provide that needed training so they can understand how to integrate Google Classroom, how they can use games in the classroom, how they can use the latest and greatest, but also don’t forget,” said Harvell.
During the watch parties, all attending can interact and ask questions as they would face-to-face.