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Teacher is a winner, and her students benefit

A Citrus High English teacher wins a new Apple computer. Then she brings it to school for students to use.

About 40 Citrus County teachers entered an Apple Computer-sponsored contest concerning the innovative use of computers in classrooms. It was the company's way of rewarding good thinking, said Apple representative Chris Briggs. The winner would receive a computer to take home for his or her own personal use.

"I won an iMac," said Citrus High School English Blueprint teacher Sandra Lingaard. English Blueprint incorporates language arts with technology, career and leadership skills.

Lingaard's computer is not in her home. "Sandra chose to bring it into school," said Briggs, who was at the high school last week to see what Lingaard's students were up to.

What she saw was a facilitator who guides her students. "The students are responsible for the learning process," said Briggs.

"The students do all of the organization of everything," said Lingaard. Not only do they learn content, she said, they develop the skills they need. And they do a lot of their work on computers.

For example, some of Lingaard's juniors made a video to show to sophomores to help prepare them for Florida Writes! or FCAT writing, the statewide writing test for fourth, eighth and 10-grade students.

Lingaard's classes also do the writing for a parent newsletter called the Hurricane Advisory. The most recent issue was eight pages, filled with student-written stories and student-sold ads.

Another English Blueprint effort from last year was a 218-page Strategic Planning Report, a look at Citrus County trends through 2050. The eight chapters included employment, economic, educational, technical, population and social trends.

Junior Jon Kraljic sat at Lingaard's new computer.

"He designs the Web page," she said. The address is http:// fl3/chsblueprint/.

Mike Geddes, coordinator of instructional technology and media specialist, was in Lingaard's classroom during Briggs' visit. He says he was involved with judging the more than 40 entries for the contest.

"I was here because Sandy Lingaard and her class are good examples of using technology tools to facilitate teaching and learning," he said.

Traditionally, he explained, teachers have been fonts of information, which they shared with students. Lingaard is more a facilitator. "It gives kids the power to learn things they wouldn't learn another way."