Owens-Young Technology Award winners recognized by Board of Education

Published 3:01 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Three Shelby County teachers were recognized by the Shelby County Board of Education at the April board meeting as the 2019 recipients of the Owens-Young Technology Innovation Award.

The award recognizes teachers who do an outstanding job of integrating technology into their classrooms. It was established in 2013 to honor the memory of two former Shelby County Schools’ employees who paved the way for teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms. Denise Owens, the wife of former District Attorney Robby Owens, was a former teacher and technology resource teacher who passed away in 2007. Michael Young, who passed away in 2013, was a network technician whose work supported classroom teachers.

This year’s recipients were Jennifer Colburn, a fifth-grade math, science and social studies teacher at Oak Mountain Intermediate School; Caitlin Bolt, a sixth-grade gifted resources/English language arts teacher at Oak Mountain Middle School; and Landon Manning, the sixth- through 12th-grade band teacher at Vincent Middle High School.

Each spring teachers are nominated by peers and school administrators for the Owens-Young Technology Award. Each of the winners receives $1,000 in technology for their classroom.

Colburn’s students are regularly engaged in digital assignments that take learning to the next level like completing exit tickets via Google forms, developing digital portfolios and designing presentations. Colburn strongly believes students benefit from working in a technology-rich learning environment.

Her classroom is a collaborative space where learning is made relevant to the real world through activities like coding Spheros, Ozobots, and Beebots. Because of her high expectations, Colburn’s students are becoming leaders and accountable digital citizens.

Bolt spends a great deal of time learning about and introducing various digital tools because she recognizes that the use of technology greatly benefits the teacher and students. Her students learn about appropriate online interaction, publication and to take pride in their accomplishments. Her use of digital tools within the classroom has also had an impact on teaching and learning by supporting student achievement through the use of multidimensional projects, student choice, challenging content and reflection.

Bolt has helped students create and manage digital portfolios using Google Sites allowing them to organize their best work, document their goals, monitor their progress and allow them to track their development during their time at the middle school. Students use their digital portfolios to lead conferences with their parents, an important step in becoming their own advocates. Bolt sees the impact which technology can make on students and hopes to spread this throughout the school and community.

At VMHS, student success and growth are the top priorities for Manning. In addition to using creative methods and purposeful strategies that impact learning on a daily basis, he is a model of excellence for his school and our district. He constantly keeps abreast of the latest trends in education technology to be able to bring the most innovative experience to the students. Throughout the school year, Manning has collected and shared data with students, faculty and staff, stakeholders and central office leadership. This data pertains to student performance, achievement scores, community and school feedback, and the Fine Arts program of the district.