After Cindy Kanuch graduated from Calhan High School in Calhan, earned her history and government degree, and achieved a MA in History and Archival Administration, she went to work for the Alabama Department of Archives and History working on a variety of archival and museum collections. The job included serving as lead archivist on an NEH grant to process the Civil Rights Era papers of George Wallace and other pro-segregation government officials.
But Kanuch missed home. She returned to Calhan in 1997, began volunteering in her oldest son’s classroom, and in 2004 was hired as the high school’s History teacher at the 520 student preK-12 school. This year she's teaching World History, American History, and College Western Civilization as well as a literacy tutoring program. “I’m teaching at my alma mater in the classroom my favorite History teacher used to have,” Kanuch said.
Kanuch was intrigued when a lifelong friend and Calhan teacher offered an Intel® Teach class.
Intel Teach is a free project-based learning program developed by Intel Corporation. The Intel Teach Program improves teacher effectiveness through professional development, helping teachers integrate technology into their lessons and promoting students' problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration skills.
Inspired by her first class, Kanuch followed with a second Intel class on Project Based Approaches. “Through this class I was introduced to Moodle as well as Project Based Learning design and implementation,” Kanuch said. “I created the framework for a Project Based Learning unit based on history through literature, art, and music."
“The Intel class offered me new approaches and provided a guided learning experience I hadn’t had in an area, technology, that I was uncomfortable exploring on my own,” Kanuch said.
Intel Teach has also enabled her to bring to life for her students knowledge gained during her archivist work on the Civil Rights Era.
"I am grateful for the training I received from Intel in which I learned how to create a web-based project that steers my students towards appropriate archival collections,” she said. "I believe that having students utilize the primary records to develop their own understanding of an historical event is far more enlightening than having them simply survey the interpretations of others.
”Her goal, to engage students in higher level thinking, is a key objective of Intel Teach. "Having students read the words of a former slave as recorded by a WPA worker, decipher the meaning of FDR’s Executive Order 9066 for Japanese-Americans, or view a early 20th century photograph of the tenement housing inhabited by dirt-poor immigrants in the inner-city brings history to a new level,” she said. “The Intel training I received has enabled me to develop the skills necessary to bring these tools for understanding to my students through technology.”
As young people become more proficient in technology, it is incumbent on educators to adjust their manner of teaching, Kanuch said. “I love the thought that with technology I can connect with people and information from around the world. The resources available are phenomenal.”
"The Intel class taught me how to design lessons starting with Student Objectives (and) Learning Outcomes and Curriculum-Framing Questions"
-- Cindy Kanuch