September’s Texas STAR is Betsy Ruffin, who has been a very active DEN member and has guest-blogged on the Texas DEN Blog, as well. Please comment and congratulate Betsy on a job well done! Read about Betsy here:
First teaching elementary and secondary classes in private schools, she dealt with mimeograph machines and film projectors. Moving into special education in public schools, she saw Apple computers come onto the classroom scene. Her current school has technology including Smart Board, fiber optic internet connections, and ceiling mounted projectors to show computer based items — including Discovery Streaming Education resources.
As a librarian, Betsy is one of two certified librarians overseeing seven elementary campuses. As technologist, she helps the district staff with Discovery products, with online databases, and software programs assisting folks in using them and in effectively integrating them into the classroom. She finds the technology can really engage students in learning, sparking their interest in ways traditional methods may not be able to. It’s a long way from the mimeographed worksheets of her early career and she has enjoyed both learning about technology herself and using it to help students learn. Her recent attendance at the Central Regional DEN conference gave her many more great ideas for using technology, especially Discovery in the classroom.
Betsy has presented sessions at conferences including Texas Computer Educator Association and Texas Library Association. Topics included collaborative teaching, use of Adobe products in the classroom, and integrating technology in the library. She also gives professional development sessions for her home district as well as regional locations.
Articles, published in Library Media Connection from Linworth Publishers and also in Texas Library Journal from Texas Library Association, included work on the technology-library connection (one also chosen for inclusion in School Library Management Notebook from Linworth), collaborative teaching, and series books. She is also a regular reviewer for Library Media Connection magazine and is a Thinkfinity end-user trainer.
She sums up her feelings about technology, the library, and teaching in general today, ” The world our students are facing in the future is much different today than the past; we need to prepare them with higher order thinking skills and problem solving abilities; they need to be lifelong learners and know how to find, evaluate, and use information well. Technology resources, such as Discovery products and more, used well can be a vital part of that process.”