Mimio Global Press

Lawrence teacher inspired to give back to community

Lawrence Eagle Tribune

LAWRENCE, Mass. – May 3, 2012 -- Zooming on an image of a milkweed bug on the projector, eighth-graders at the Henry K. Oliver School were able to see the legs and proboscis of the insect.

"They kept saying, 'Wow, look at that," said science teacher Priscilla Camarda.

Camarda, 38, a teacher for 14 years, received the Technology Award from the New England League of Middle Schools for incorporating traditional book learning with technology such as a Mimio , which turns the ordinary whiteboard surface interactive by using magnifying tools, slide transitions, or lessons with audio, video, and Flash files.

The New England League of Middle Schools, based in North Andover, recognizes individuals or groups who use technology to enhance student learning in middle school.

"I felt very humbled and honored," she said of the accolade. "I accepted the award on behalf of the Lawrence public schools to show that we are moving forward."

Camarda was nominated by student Adli Lopez.

"She uses technology to go above and beyond what she teaches," Lopez, 14, said.

"She uses creativity and process. It's the best of both world," said Lopez, who will attend Notre Dame High School in the fall.

A Lawrence native, Camarda is a 1992 graduate of Lawrence High School. She has an associate degree in business from Northern Essex Community College, a bachelor's in sociology from University of Massachusetts, Lowell and a master's degree in education from Fitchburg State.

Camarda was working in banking when she felt she wanted a career path where she could make a difference.

She began as a substitute teacher at the Oliver School, with Edward Parthum, who was her assistant principal at Lawrence High.

"He inspired me. When I felt I couldn't do it, he gave me the confidence," she said.

While at the bank, a fellow employee was student teaching at Lawrence High.

"He inspired me because I could see how much he enjoyed it. He inspired me to become something better, to give back to my community."

When a science position opened at the Oliver, Camarda took it.

"I didn't realize how much I loved it until I started teaching it," she said. Camarda still plans her lessons in writing with additional ones for the slide show to complement it.

In the classroom, she passes the tablet around so students can write, point, and click on the tablet with the stylus.

"It's so engaging, they all want to be part of it. It speaks to them in another level they have never seen before," she said.


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