Teacher wins award for using technology in classroom

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Teachers often try to incorporate technology into the classroom. A Roanoke County teacher launched a new program this year and got an award for her efforts.

The entire Oak Grove Elementary 5th grade surprised Ms. Tina Coffey who won teacher of the year by Level Up Village. It is a program that connects students from around the world.

The program allowed these students to not only learn Spanish but daily they were also... "making a 3-D printed flashlight with our partners," said Kaiden Ruble an Oak Grove 5th Grader. The student's partners lived in Hondorus. "Pretty amazing," said Leigh-Ann Backer, fellow 5th Grade Teacher.

As a 20 year educator, Tina Coffey says technology allows student to develop 21st century skills like creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. She was chosen for the award from 200 Level-up classrooms. "She does a great job of bringing new ideas and new concepts to schools and thinking of ways of touching all students no matter their ability," said Erin Harden who teaches with Coffey.

Making solar flashlights from scratch with their partner miles away wasn't easy. "I think one of these skills they need, all of our students as they are growing up is the ability to create content, that is what this project allowed them to do," said Tina Coffey.

And how she feels watching their creations come to life. "I'm so proud of them," said Coffey.

Regardless of where the program goes in the future, students have built relationships with people from around the world.