Published : Wednesday, April 6, 2016 | 1:19 PM
The Paradise Canyon Elementary School (PCY) community welcomed Mr. Dennis Carreon, the new computer lab specialist recently! Mr. Carreon has been working in the fields of education and technology for almost twenty years, and now, he gets to combine these two passions into one very important job: teaching students how to safely and effectively use technology.
His past experiences have majorly influenced his view and methods of teaching. Born in Guam, he and his family moved to Southern California when he was four years old. When he was an elementary student, he felt very engaged and eager to learn. He enjoyed being a part of the school’s community. As he grew older, however, he noticed that some students felt invisible and became less involved in their school. “I see it a lot now: you can become just a number. It’s easy to get lost in the midst of it all. Now that I’m in education, I want students to see how wonderful the learning process is. Just get involved.”
Though he started using computers in high school, he became really interested in them while he was serving in the military. “I always remember how we would go on these deployments, and we wouldn’t get mail from our loved ones for months. When email came along, it was rewarding because you were being connected to your loved ones at home and not having to wait for the postal service.” The ability to communicate with people around the world so quickly and easily fascinated him. While traveling overseas, he developed another keen aspiration: to become a history teacher. “In the military, I saw the political things that were going on in the world, and I wanted to make changes. One of the reasons I wanted to go into education was so I could teach kids and help them understand what’s happening.”
After his military service, he received a Bachelor of Arts in History: Teacher Preparation Option, with an emphasis in women and race from CSULA. He worked in multiple schools and continued to learn about technology. “I became a trouble shooter and would always wonder how I could help someone else learn.” Eventually, he became the instructional technology site coordinator for a school that was implementing their own 1:1 Chromebook pilot program, which entailed giving students Chromebooks and establishing a learning management system for the teachers. “Students who didn’t have the most supportive home life were able to get more done by taking the computers home. There were a lot of long hours preparing for that.” Their efforts did not go unnoticed, since that same school was later recommended to be a Model Continuation High School.
Mr. Carreon has big plans for his PCY students this year. They can expect challenging projects that will encourage creativity and collaboration, while using various education tools. The main message he hopes to impart to students is that “Technology is a tool; it’s not a shortcut. Enjoy the learning process. It’s not just about the fastest and shortest way to get there.”
In his spare time, Mr. Carreon enjoys sci-fi movies and cooking exotic cuisine. He is a patient and flexible teacher eager to help his students develop their technological skills. “At PCY, everyone here does everything they can to reward these kids. I really admire and love them for it, and I really enjoy the community here.”
Paradise Canyon Elementary School, 471 Knight Way, La Cañada, (818) 952-8340 or visit www.lcusd.net/domain/129.