Jennings County High School technological specialist Jeff Green has been quietly reshaping the educational experience for students from his office in the library.
Recently, Green was recognized as the Teacher of the Year by the Indiana Computer Educators because of his constant efforts to incorporate new technology within the school despite budget restraints.
“Our technology department is run on a budget of Band-Aids and duct tape,” Green joked. “We can’t always afford the latest software because it is always changing.”
Green said he believes the enthusiasm and dedication of his students was a big reason why he was honored. Panthers students have collected 11 state video awards and more than 30 national ones since Green began teaching television production in 1999.
At that time, the school had Internet access in only the library, but Green and his students have raised technological expectations to a much higher level because they have embraced the possibilities.
“It’s just a matter of me showing them the platform and then seeing what they can do with it,” Green said. “Over half of my students who have won national video awards have been in the bottom half of their graduating classes. Some kids are just drawn to technology like moths to a flame, and some of them will stay up and tinker with programs until 2 in the morning. Television production is one class that anybody can walk in and do.”
Green’s students have even included a student with muscular dystrophy.
“He had help putting the DVDs into the tray and taking them out, but he could move the mouse with his right hand,” Green said. “He did a music video for his final project, and he cracked me up because he wanted to keep editing things until he had to turn it in. He got an A.”
Because of the passion Green and his students have for technology, it has a strong presence within the school. All freshmen and sophomores have $400 iPads and every classroom has the ability to connect to the Internet.
When he was notified via email that he was going to receive the award from ICE, Green was stunned and said he is still shocked by the recognition.
“There are a lot of good things going on in the schools, so it’s humbling and flattering,” he said. “My students have gone a long way to help Jennings County High School get noticed. I’m still amazed every time we win awards that someone is recognizing us.”
When he isn’t at school, Green enjoys time with his three children, 16-year-old Merrick, 13-year-old Zachary and 10-year-old LeeAndra. The trio share their father’s passion for technology.
“They love electronics,” Green said. “When I graduated from Purdue in 1985, the only things with power cords were electric typewriters.”
Under Green’s guidance, the school operates a 24-hour television station and a live 24-hour video-streaming site.
The website has had a global effect.
“People in Korea were able to watch a wrestling match live from halfway around the world,” Green said. “An older brother watched his younger brother graduate in a conference room while he was aboard a U.S. Navy supercarrier near the Persian Gulf. All this was made possible because of technology. That never gets old.”