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Helping explain computerese
Teresa aids Bullochs classrooms with technological revolution
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Instructional Technology Specialist Teresa Phillips is in charge of making sure Bulloch schools’ classrooms have a laptop and a smart board and helping teachers understand how to the the equipment. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special
    During the 2007-2008 school year, the Bulloch County public schools decided to make better use of the 'technological revolution' in the classrooms, and created the position of Instructional Technology Specialist. The teachers needed help understanding 'computerese,' and it would be this person's responsibility to give it.
    In no time at all, a seventh-grade language arts teacher at William James Middle School was hired to fill the position. Her name: Teresa Phillips. After teaching in Glennville for four years, Phillips had been hired by then-principal Dupree at WJ to teach sixth-grade social studies.
    Phillips came to Bulloch County after she met and married her husband, Stacey, who worked for Georgia Pacific. They have two children: their son, Spencer, is in the sixth-grade at WJ, and their daughter, Keylee, is in the second-grade at Julia P. Bryant Elementary.
    Phillips had a lengthy resume: a B.A. in Elementary Education from Winthrop University; a M.Ed. in Middle Grades Education from Georgia Southern University; and a Ed.S. from Lincoln Memorial University in Educational Administration.
    Craig Liggett, the assistant superintendent for information systems, and the two assistant superintendents for teaching and learning (Dr. Jody Woodrum, kindergarten through fifth Grade and Dr. Fran Stevens, sixth through twelfth Grades) interviewed Phillips and were very impressed.
    They convinced Phillips to take on several Herculean tasks: setting up every teacher with a laptop in their classroom, bringing 'on line' both a new E-mail system (First Class) and a new electronic lesson planner (On Course) in her first year on the job; and putting 'Smart Boards,' which are essentially electronic chalkboards, in every classroom.
    Dr. Stephens said about Phillips: “She goes way above and beyond the call of duty helping teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms. She always has a great attitude and is just an all-around great employee. She does a phenomenal job with teachers.”
    The Office of Technology has staff to help her (wireless engineers, network administrators, and technology specialists) when things either go wrong or when the needs of teachers enter areas that are not in her purview.
    The staff at the Georgia Department of Education's First District Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) helps keep her up-to-date with all the latest information. They offer classes and seminars just for the areas technology specialists, who then take what they've learned to the teachers.
    As Phillips said “I really try to educate the teachers about all the computers can do for them. Most are very appreciative when you are willing to sit down and help them actually work their way through it. They have to comprehend, digest, synthesize, and analyze all this new data in a very short amount of time, and it is quite often very overwhelming.”
     Phillips is no geek, but what she does requires the ability to translate technology in to the most simple basic precepts, so that the teachers can then share with their students what it will be like when they enter the real world they'll be ready. And that is what she has done so very well.

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