Tina Calhoon hopes to one day become a technology facilitator which would allow her to help teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms and lesson plans.
As a fourth grade math and science teacher at Peake Elementary School in Arkadelphia for 11 years, Calhoon incorporates computer science, coding and robotics in her classroom.
“I have always been interested in technology and especially classroom technology,” Calhoon said. “Technology can help make the lessons in the classroom interactive and engaging for the students.
“I knew I wanted to get my master’s degree, but at that time I wasn’t necessarily interested in the programs that were offered until Henderson State announced their Master’s in Technology Leadership program. I immediately applied for graduate school and began taking classes. It was exactly what I had been waiting for.”
She received her master’s in Technology Leadership in 2015.
Calhoon, who graduated from Bismarck High School in 1996, received her B.S.E. in Early Childhood Education P-4 from Henderson in 2006 and her English as a Second Language certification in 2009. She is nearing completion of a program of study in Building Level Leadership, Principal Licensure from Henderson. She has also been taking classes for a cyber certificate from Louisiana Tech University.
The constant evolution of technology fascinates Calhoon.
“I love the fact that it’s always changing, always improving, and always becoming more effective and efficient,” Calhoon said. “It amazes me to think about what these students, who have grown up with technology, will be able to do in their careers.
She recently attended a workshop through the Dawson Education Cooperative that included a grant to purchase technology for Peake.
“Right now, I really enjoy teaching coding and robotics,” Calhoon said. “With this grant, I was able to order several robots, as well as a few small drones.”
Calhoon said schools need to implement more technology in the classroom.
“Technology is always growing, but our school budgets are not,” she said. “If it’s not in the budget, look for grants that will help you provide for the needs of your school.
“In our classroom, we use an interactive Smart Board, document camera, RedCat speaker system, iPads and Chromebooks.”
After she earned her master’s in technology leadership, Calhoon was asked to serve on the Arkansas Department of Education Computer Science Standards writing committee.
“This was an amazing experience,” she said. “Not only did I get to see the computer science standards come to life from the ground up, but I met so many technology leaders from around the state and learned so much from them.”
Calhoon highly recommends Henderson’s educational technology programs.
“It’s like learning to speak the language of our students,” she said. “Technology is not going away, so jump on board and learn how to keep your students engaged. And in the process, you will find so many ways to save you time with paperwork and data collection.”
When she’s away from the classroom, Calhoon enjoys “crafty/decorative” hobbies such as knitting, sewing, crafting with her Silhouette machine and refurbishing furniture. She is also an avid reader.
“I would love to learn how to draw house plans,” she said. “I enjoy just about anything where I get to design and create.”
If Calhoon hadn’t become a teacher, she would have likely entered the computer field.
“I actually wanted to major in computer science,” she said. “However, it wasn’t seen as a ‘girl’s’ field, so I talked myself out of it.
“I think it’s pretty amazing that here I am, years later with the best of both worlds, teaching my students the love of math and science and computer science. I love the fact that girls are now encouraged to go into computer science.”