Intermediate District 917 TIES Exceptional Teachers recognized

Published December 29, 2015 at 1:29 pm

Erin Hale-Sanford and Donna Greenfield from Intermediate District 917 were recognized as TIES Exceptional Teachers at the TIES 2015 Education Technology Conference at the Minneapolis Hyatt Regency on Dec. 15.

The award recognizes teachers who model the best practices in their classroom and engage students in learning with technology.

Nomination submissions explained why the two are exceptional teachers:

Hale-Sanford is a social studies teacher within the District 917 Dakota County Area Learning School alternative learning program. She has infused a wide variety of technology within her classes. She uses iPads to create webquests (both self-created and pre-made) on historical events or economic issues, assessments for personality types and multiple intelligences, and research for projects.

Other tech devices used include, which allows students to create characters/avatars and add voices to them. She uses them when reading a book; enabling students to create a visual and auditory account of what they think characters look and sound like.

Another site is, which facilitates reminding students of important class events. Hale-Sanford used her Econ/Chef class as a beta for this. It worked so well; a number of other staff members have started to use it.

Hale-Sanford has her Economics/Personal Finance students complete real-life tasks (e.g., finding an apartment, getting prepared to live on their own, and comparison shopping) to prepare them for life outside of school.

Hale-Sanford is a positive member of the teaching staff within the DCALS program.

Greenfield, educational audiologist, integrates her knowledge of the many types of rapidly changing, sophisticated amplification systems used by learners who are deaf/hard of hearing with the ever-changing technology used in the general education setting.

She serves learners birth to age 21 in multiple school districts with a variety of hearing loss and learning needs by assisting teams of staff and parents to obtain amplification technology that will provide the maximum auditory access possible for learning to meet the unique hearing loss needs of each learner. In addition to using technology to program hearing aids and assistive listening devices (ALDs) that will enable the learner to have optimal auditory access in the classroom, she consults with teachers on how to connect the ALDs to computers, iPads, and learning centers in classrooms. Greenfield enables students to be in the same classes using multiple forms of amplification easily and efficiently.

She is working on cutting-edge, cost-effective technology to make real-time captioning available in the classroom by combining the current technologies of Google Chrome speech-to-text recognition software with ALDs. Greenfield believes that by using technology to allow teachers and parents to experience what a student is hearing (through the hearing loss simulator or the cochlear implant simulator), it increases their understanding of the learner’s needs and why some adaptations and modifications in the classroom will enable greater learner auditory access and success.

She creates hearing loss simulation files for students to use in classroom inservices they have created for their teachers and peers. She is invaluable in supporting teachers of deaf and hard of hearing and other staff on how to troubleshoot amplification equipment critical for learners’ access to learning.

TIES is an educational technology solutions collaborative owned by 48 member districts. Its mission is to leverage collective wisdom to make technology work across school communities.

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