'I want to challenge them': Philly computer teacher using technology to inspire students

Kevan Portney is bringing innovative ideas to E.W. Rhodes Elementary.

Pat Toddy
May 26, 2018 - 3:53 pm
Teacher Kevan Portney

Pat Toddy | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Future tech stars are being developed at a North Philadelphia elementary school thanks to a new computer teacher. 

Kevan Portney is bringing innovative ideas to E.W. Rhodes Elementary. Among them, a technology show.

Portney gave seventh and eighth grade students a chance to let their tech skills shine by building interactive programs for each other and parents who were invited to visit. But the project went beyond fun.

"That's the whole idea, I want to challenge them," Portney said. "I think the more you challenge them, they will reach higher levels."

They soared in their tasks of creating engaging pages, highlighting African-American inventors and developing their own "Jeopardy" show games.

Like his teacher, making it a challenge, was a priority for seventh grader Elijahwan Cannon, Jr.

"I think my questions were pretty hard," he said. "There were two parents and she had trouble with the question about the atomic bomb."

Young game designers also formed meme messages that pooped up after players answered questions.

"It doesn't yell at you if you are wrong, it just gives you an animated thing that says you're incorrect, try it again, explained Portney. "And if you are right, it says Yaaaaay!"

Cheers and chuckles came for an eighth grade girl who used comedy in her game.

"It was a tongue twister," she said. "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Everyone went around trying to do it and it made it fun for the whole class."