Alum Incorporates Technology into Education

Michael Wininger, a 1991 graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, certainly knows the value of an influential education. As Technology Director for Cresent, Okla., Public Schools, Wininger credits his "OBU experience" as being directly responsible for his success as an educator and innovator.

Wininger graduated from OBU with a degree in math education, equipping him to immediately enter the classroom. His career in education began in Red Rock, Okla. at Frontier Public School. As one of their math teachers, he instructed classes such as geometry, algebra and calculus. Wininger's specialty in technology began to blossom while he taught at Frontier, and his class schedule expanded to include courses such as media production.

After his time at Frontier, Wininger moved to his current position as technology director for Cresent Public Schools. His job responsibilities entail oversight in all things technology. Wininger administers everything from the district's network and servers to interactive white boards in the classroom. In addition to supervising the district's technology efforts, he also oversees staff development alongside Steve Shiever, superintendent of Cresent Public Schools.

Wininger is a self-described risk-taker. His record of innovation in the classroom has created unique opportunities for students to learn in distinctive ways. One of Wininger's recent areas of oversight is Cresent High School's "1 to 1 Laptop" project.

"Each and every high school student is issued an Apple MacBook laptop for the school year and is able to take the laptop home," Wininger said. "Teachers build content and curriculum and make it available online through Moodle, our course-management system."

The "1 to 1 Laptop" initiative has proven to be a large investment of time and effort for the high school staff, Wininger said. Now in its second year at Cresent Public Schools, the project is growing, and Wininger is pleased with the results. The teachers at Crescent provide online learning content that is accessible 24 hours a day. Crescent Middle School recently was awarded a grant to fund the program; therefore, starting next school year, each student from 6th through 12th grades will have a personal laptop.

"Crescent Public School has been a wonderful place to work," Wininger said. "We have become an organization that values time for consistent professional development. We have become a district that wants more for our students, and expects more from our students."

Wininger said his time spent on Bison Hill equipped him with the necessary skills to carry the tradition of influential education into his career. He points to his experience at OBU as being most significant in his growth as an educator. Wininger's memories of Bison Hill involve strong friendships with students from varying disciplines and close personal relationships with professors.

"It was my relationships there with students and professors that helped me grow," Wininger said. "[The faculty] had a profound influence on my life as an educator. They believe in their students. They believed in me just as my parents and friends did, and that belief transfers and builds up the belief in oneself."

Wininger holds that same belief in his co-workers and staff.

"My role as Technology Director is to serve my staff," Wininger said. "As I support them in their role as educators, there becomes a bond of trust, responsibility and dependability which allows us to grow and stretch beyond our expectations. The investment of serving and believing nurtures the belief in oneself and in those around you."