Innovation in Education: Meet Kristin Carnahan
February is digital learning month in Loveland, so we are introducing you to dynamic teachers who know how to put technology to work to enhance education for students
Kristin Carnahan has worked in the Loveland City School District eight years; she currently teaches English and communication technology at Loveland High School (LHS).
In Carnahan’s classroom, black computers stand in single-file rows across the desks making a noticeable statement about the learning atmosphere.
“All of the five classes I teach are blended learning courses,” said Carnahan. “I’ve been teaching using some form of this technique the past five years.”
This year, Carnahan is working with a new program at LHS called Blackboard – a secure, online portal for teachers to interact with students in a virtual classroom setting.
“This system allows me to enhance and individualize instruction for students,” explained Carnahan. “It doesn’t replace the face-to-face classroom interaction; it complements the traditional learning environment.
“Every class knows the first thing they do is log onto Blackboard. I post assignments and provide resources students can reference to assist with those assignments. As the instructor, I’m not the be all and end all; I’m there to provide support where support is needed.”
Currently, Carnahan teaches freshmen exclusively, exposing students to the blended learning environment as soon as they enter LHS.
“I believe students need exposure to at least some blended learning early on,” said Carnahan. “At the recent eTech conference, I was listening to a presentation that estimated by the year 2019, 50 percent of all high school courses will be offered online. If predictions hold true, this high school and others will look very different in six years. While blended learning is only partially online, it is preparing our students today for their future.
“My expectation is that my own use of Blackboard will also evolve. By next year, I will be able to post a lesson and as a student completes that lesson and shows mastery of the subject, another lesson will automatically open up to that student. This allows the students to learn at their own pace and allows me to design the class for true individual learning. The focus should always be on student learning – using the technology to enhance instruction.”