"I'm a big advocate of it now. [Before] I wasn't."
Norwalk High School history teacher Bob Stein says teachers need to embrace the new technology entering their classrooms. Stein is just one of the Norwalk Public Schools teachers getting crash courses in different software this week.
"I've used it before, but never as intensely as I'll be using it this year," he says.
Stein is referring to Genesis Gradebook, the software teachers use to track students grades and attendance.
"In the past, I've only used it mostly for taking attendance," he says. "But now I realize there are a lot more benefits to it, and ways I can use the program more than I've ever used it before."
This year Gradebook is getting an upgrade: now parents can track their children's grades online, and see all the comments and input teachers are adding.
"It's a way to keep track of students much better," Stein says. "In today's world, parents want to know what their kids are doing. This gives them a portal to see exactly where they are and what they're doing. That's really good all the way around. It's a win-win situation."
Stein says for tenured teachers like him, new technology can be a little scary. But in the long run, the benefits are worthwhile.
Stein says he was the last teacher at Norwalk High School to still use an old-fashioned blackboard, until it was replaced with a new SMART Board last year.
"I was using the board, having realized how useful it is, I am a big advocate of it now," he says.
The weeklong workshops, sponsored by the Norwalk Education Foundation, continue Thursday and Friday.