The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 10, 2013

Mom, daughter become tech team

By Sarah Plummer
Register-Herald Reporter



A mother and daughter teaching duo from Raleigh County teamed up to use technology to connect their classes Wednesday on Digital Learning Day.

Drema McNeal, the 2011 West Virginia Teacher of the Year at Park Middle, and her daughter Ashley McNeal, a new and tech-savvy fourth-grade teacher at Mabscott Elementary, got their students thinking about all of the places they will go.

First, Dr. Seuss’ classic “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” was read in both classes and a picture was sent digitally to a teacher in New Jersey as part of a project called Read Across America in New Jersey.

Drema said New Jersey teacher Danielle Kovach hopes to have pictures of students from each of the 50 states by Dr. Seuss Day on March 1.

“We wanted to represent West Virginia by participating in this endeavor. Our students were excited to know that their picture would be on a map in a classroom in New Jersey,” said Drema.

Then by using iPads, both McNeals were able to video chat via Face Time.

Drema read and discussed the story and taught Ashley’s fourth-graders a quick writing lesson.

Once the younger kids were busy writing, Ashley taught a digital writing lesson to the Park sixth-graders using an app called Story Created.

Park students were able to use a classroom set of iPads previously acquired through a grant to follow her instructions to create a story about the places they would like to go after graduating from high school.

Students were able to download photos and pictures from Google images, type their story, add their own voice to the story and draw pictures with the tools provided, said Drema.

“It would have been nice if all the children had iPads, but we made do with what we had. All the children seemed to have a great day of learning,” Ashley said.    

“It was an awesome experience to work with my daughter. She is a talented teacher. I am glad she is getting her master’s in technology. She taught the lesson so effortlessly and my students loved it. I will definitely do team teaching with her again,” said the veteran teacher.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com