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Posted May 21, 2013

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Sandia High Tech Coordinator Wins Innovation Award

The final TIG/APS Education Foundation award for the 2012-13 school year goes to Tom Arnold.

Tom Arnold wrote the book on Promethean ActiBoards. Really.

The Sandia High technology coordinator developed an easy-to-use guide for using the Boards after finding the official manual he received during training hard to follow.

"It started out as a few pages on different topics depending on what the teachers were were asking for. It eventually became a 50-page, quick-start guide."

The guide earned Arnold the TIG/APS Education Foundation Innovation Award for May, which goes along with $2,500 to buy a variety of ActivClassroom interactive tools or training to assist in the classroom.

Arnold also received a $100 cash prize.

The former science and math teacher began teaching computer classes 13 years ago at Roosevelt Middle School after the Legislature provided the school with money for equipment and software. He went back to school, where he earned a master's degree in educational technology, and served as the Manzano cluster technology resource teacher before moving to Sandia eight years ago.

"When I started teaching (25 years ago), the only computer technology available was a gradebook program. Projectors eventually arrived, so I used one to replace the old overhead projector. It allowed me to easily customize the presentations for each class and it became a great way to share resources from the Internet."

Arnold said he then traded overhead transparencies for PowerPoint, and chalkboards for SmartBoards.

"When SmartBoards came along, I saw the potential. But it was the Promethean ActivBoards that really got me on board (no pun intended)."

Arnold said the Promethean ActivBoard has the potential to increase student engagement like no other technology out there. "Students can not only work on assignments the teacher creates, they can also use it to illustrate their own reasoning. The boards excel at visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning all at the same time."

Arnold said he isn't quite sure yet how he will use the $2,500. But he knows how he'll spend the $100 cash prize. "I’m giving it to the APS Summer School program to help (minimally I know) with tuition assistance."

Arnold's wife, Jeanne, has been helping run the program since its coordinator retired earlier this month.

Technology Integration Group and the APS Education Foundation have sponsored the Innovation Awards for a couple of years now, acknowledging and rewarding district teachers who are advancing education through the use of technology, including the Promethean ActivBoards.

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