Katie Booth's fall break wasn't a typical one.

The third grade teacher at Kyrene de los Lagos spent it teaching other educators how to use certain pieces of technology, and she did it at a school in Shanghai.

Booth spent seven days at the Shanghai International School in China where she trained the teachers there how to use a staple of Kyrene's in-classroom technology, the SMART Board.

She has been around it since it came to the district and was one of the first to train other Kyrene educators on how to use it. The SMART Board has since become a central part of classroom instruction and is used worldwide.

Booth's cousin is a teacher at the Shanghai International School and told her there was an opportunity for her to visit over fall break and give training sessions.

"I just told her I would love to come and train her whole staff," she said.

That is just what she did. She met individually with each of the 12 teachers there and as a group. A main focus was to show how best to complement the school's curriculum with the SMART Board.

"At Kyrene, we always use technology as a tool," she said. "Over there, they have the technology but they are lacking in training."

The positives in using an interactive piece of technology like the SMART Board is that kids are directly engaged with what they are learning, she said.

This is her 10th year as a teacher, seventh in Kyrene, and she has seen how student involvement has evolved since adding it to the classroom.

"There are things for them to move and manipulate on screen," she said. "Kids are used to receiving their information from technology these days so they pick it up quickly. Student engagement has been the biggest change I have seen since adopting the SMART Boards."

She also trains her Kyrene co-workers and is on the technology committee for the district. As fast as technology moves these days, the staff at Kyrene moves just as quickly to keep pace in new software and hardware developments, she said.

"They are constantly finding us new software to improve the learning experience with the boards," she said. "When I teach the other teachers about how to use one, it is good for me too because in those discussion groups, someone might think of a totally different and better way to use it."

It wasn't her first time teaching abroad. Booth spent three years teaching at an English school in Vienna, Austria in between her time in Kyrene. She returned to the district three years ago.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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