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LSU SOE and The Dunham School Integrate Technology and Education in the Classroom

November 10, 2023
BATON ROUGE, LAThe Dunham School is a long-standing partner with the LSU Lutrill & Pearl Payne School of Education. Nikole Blanchard, an LSU graduate and Director of Innovation and Technology at Dunham, has been the catalyst for the partnership. Through her relationship with Associate Professor of Professional Practice in EducationalDunham student with LSU student Technology, Deborah Heroman, PhD, Dunham and LSU have become pioneers when it comes to integrating technology and education.
A guiding force

Upon graduation from LSU, Blanchard was a very successful elementary teacher in the local public school system and the University Laboratory School. Blanchard was the driving force for Dunham’s technology program. She developed the curriculum and led the school in becoming an Apple Distinguished School since 2011 and identified by Gallop in 2017 as one of the most innovative schools in the nation.
Deborah Heroman, PhD, has been collaborating with Nikole Blanchard both in and out of the classroom for almost 15 years. She said, “Mrs. Blanchard has been the guiding force behind Dunham’s successful 1:1 MacBook program and longtime partnership with Apple. Thanks to her vision and leadership, Dunham’s been named the only PK-12 Apple Distinguished School in Louisiana. Additionally, Blanchard is also a National Board-Certified Teacher, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Trainer, Google Innovator, ISTE Board of Directors member and is the current President of the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) ...and she still finds time to learn and discover new ways to use technology alongside the students. Mrs. Blanchard has modeled the outstanding technology program by teaching future teachers at LSU and showing them the unlimited possibilities educational technology brings to the classroom. I am very proud of her as a young professional, but also as a friend and former student.”

From student to colleague
Dunham students with LSU students

Heroman was Blanchard’s professor during both her undergraduate and graduate studies. Blanchard said, “Dr. Heroman is my biggest fan. She has always encouraged me and poured into me as a student, teacher, colleague and friend.  Her research mindset and my creative brain mesh perfectly to really make a change for the positive in education.” 
They truly are the perfect match as colleagues -- Heroman teaches ELRC 2507: Introduction to Classroom Technology in person at LSU while Blanchard teaches the same class online. Heroman also brings her students to Dunham to interact with the students and teachers there. Blanchard said, “I love the enthusiasm of Dr. Heroman’s students when they come to Dunham. They are always open-minded and work positively with the students. Based on what lesson Dr. Heroman and I decide to teach, sometimes the college students are modeling a way to implement technology for the teachers. This method becomes a win-win situation – our teachers learn something new and preservice teachers get to see it in action!” 

Innovation that excites 
Since we live in a world that is ever-changing, Blanchard loves how innovation helps prepare students for their futures. She shared, “The current kindergarten class is graduating in 2036 … we need to make sure they have the skills needed. In order to do this, educators must think innovatively about curriculum. Is what we are teaching relevant for children today?  As far as technology is concerned, it tears down the classroom walls and practically brings learning to our fingertips. With virtual reality, we can go anywhere or travel through the digestive system!” Using technology, students are empowered to create, collaborate, and take ownership in their learning.

Blanchard and Heroman aren’t the only ones excited about LSU’s continuous collaboration with Dunham – the elementary students are too. Blanchard said, “My students areDunham student mesmerized by the LSU students. They are always so excited when they visit Dunham and have so many questions to ask them! They are very curious about college life and were surprised to learn that their classes are not from 8-3.  During the activity, I witnessed a Dunham student smile big when he realized that he taught the LSU student a skill! The LSU students are complimentary of the Dunham students and impressed by their technology skills.  Dunham is a 1-to-1 technology school PK3-grade 12 … so the tech skills of an average third grader is pretty advanced. Reflecting on this experience, I am grateful because it brings a sense of humanity to the classroom, allowing students of different ages to work together on a project and learn from each other!” 

About Lutrill & Pearl Payne LSU School of Education (SOE)

A school of the College of Human Sciences & Education, the SOE offers undergraduate programs for students who want to pursue a career as a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teacher or acquire dual certification in both traditional elementary and special education classrooms. Besides providing graduate certification in Instructional Coaching, educational technology, and urban & community education, the SOE offers a writing pedagogy minor, and a master’s degree in arts, arts in teaching, education (MEd), education in counseling (MEd), certificate of education specialist (EdS) and PhD. The School’s mission is to prepare educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues. Visit the LSU Lutrill and Pearl Payne School of Education.

To learn more about Educational Technology, click here.

To learn more about The Dunham School, click here.