Hampfield School District Learning Technology Specialist Susan Allen describes her work as “everything little by little”.
From integrating the district’s individual technology program to teaching children to use a 3D printer and help create a balloon or two animals, Allen applies this description in practice. Such dedication was rewarded by the fact that the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology named her Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 2022.
The association, a local branch of the International Society for Technology in Education, has more than 3,000 members nationwide. The nonprofit educational technology organization includes teachers, librarians, media professionals, parents, and leaders.
Centerville High School principal Lisa Mama presented one of several nominations for Elena.
“She’s an amazing resource you can have in the county,” Mom said. “I am grateful that Hampfield continued to support this position. In connection with our transition to so many instructions concerning technology, it is very important. “
Basically, her role as a learning technology specialist is to help teachers and students do what they do in the classroom – especially with technology. She balances her time between five different kindergartens and eight-class buildings in the district, including Centerville.
Allen has always been active in the natural sciences, technology, engineering and math disciplines, teaching science in the county for 18 years before becoming a technology coach in high school in 2007. A few years later she moved to her current position.
“Every day is different,” Allen said. “There’s always something new around the corner that needs to be explored and explored.”
During her time in the county, she used grant funds to create spaces at two Hampfield high schools and to purchase tools for robots such as Hummingbird boots with lights, engines and sensors.
And while many schools across the country have struggled to provide students with technology at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Allen and her colleagues have already set up a one-on-one iPad app in the area.
This paved the way for focusing on teacher training and working with students to make virtual learning as smooth as possible.
Allen and her team also ensured that Hampfield students were well prepared to take ownership and responsibility for technology in their education.
For example, Allen works with a group of kids called “Tech Squad” who hold events every day during a period of change in the high school building. It is at these events that animals from balloons and 3D printing appear, as well as the occasional bird feeder and building sculpture.
“It gives our students something to be proud of,” Mom said. “And they withstand the challenge.”
Mom added that Allen is “a person our middle school students know in technology.”