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Technology Expands Learning Beyond Classroom Walls

Bond-funded tech helps students connect to global world, learn career skills

In Martha “Monty” Montgomery’s seventh-grade classroom at Kelly Middle School, there’s one laptop computer for every two students, and students use them nearly all day. At every 4J school the oldest student computers are being replaced with brand-new laptops as part of the Crossroads Technology Replacement Project funded by the 2013 school bond measure.

“Technology gives students access to current world event information and 21st century research and communication skills,” Monty says.

They may still be pre-teens, but like college students Monty’s students have developed websites and created Prezis to present research. They access information from Monty’s blog, website, and wiki, including a page dedicated to the study of Australia. They store work on Google Drive and submit assignments electronically.

“If someone took away technology from my classroom, I wouldn’t be able to teach,” Monty jokes. “Well, I would, but I made the leap quite a while ago to integrate it in most of what we do. We are currently corresponding via email and Skype with a school in Ghana.”

All the students in Jamie Tait’s fifth-grade class at Awbrey Park Elementary School are integrating iPads into much of their work, too. Access to this technology is part of the iT3 iPad pilot, funded by a previous bond.

In Jamie’s class, students read and listen to books on their iPads. Tablets are integrated into the writing curriculum, as well, as students write, edit and share drafts with classmates using the iPads. For science projects, they record observations, pictures and data. And they can attach a ProScope, which is a digital microscope that works with an iPad.

What do the students think? “Students are highly engaged on the iPads,” Jamie says. “They use problem-solving skills to work through technological difficulties. They are becoming much more fluent with typing and becoming better writers.”

Monty adds, “Students say they are proud of their skills. They fought through some difficulties learning web development and Prezi, and they learned to work together when problems arose.”

Thanks to the voters who approved the 2011 and 2013 bond measures, these upgrades in student technology are furthering student learning and important skills they’ll use in college and careers.

 

Learn more:
• Bond measure news 
• Bond measure overview

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