Educators learn about the latest classroom technology
By Sarah Campbell
EAST SPENCER — Local educators got a glance into the future Tuesday as they boarded a bus packed with the latest Promethean technology.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System currently uses a variety of Promethean products, including more than 1,000 interactive whiteboards and handheld devices that survey students to provide teachers with instant feedback.
But Phil Hardin, the district’s executive director of technology, said he wants to make sure teachers know what’s coming next.
“It’s important that we’re continually looking for both hardware and software that can strengthen the teaching and learning in the schools and in the classrooms,” he said. “Technology never comes to an end. It’s an ongoing thing, so we’re constantly looking at the next best way to improve learning.”
Dozens of teachers, technology facilitators, media coordinators and administrators rotated throughout the bus Tuesday, while Promethean employees explained how the latest technology could impact their classrooms.
The ActivTable, which has yet tobe used by any schools, allows students to work together to write stories or solve math problems.
The latest ActivInspire software allows students to use a variety of handheld devices, including iPods and cellphones, to respond to questions during class.
Katie Sparks, an English teacher at Carson High School, said she was excited to see what technology is in store for the future.
“Anybody that is engaging in technology is, of course, trying to stay abreast with the latest,” she said. “A lot of the devices we have right now are not touch screen, they are with a stylus or pen. I think the touch screen is going to be the wave of the future.”
Lisa McCrimmon, a seventh-grade math teacher at North Rowan Middle, said getting to see the new technology Tuesday was great.
She said the use of technology in her classroom has kept her students more engaged and creative.
Sparks said technology has allowed her students to do more collaborative and project-based learning.
“We are really able to make the stories come alive,” she said. “For instance, the ActivBboard program called ActivInspire actually allows students or myself to create flip charts, which are pretty much enhanced PowerPoints, but much more interactive.”
Sparks said she recently created a flip chart for Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
“That’s the way we reviewed the material we have read the day before and (students) can actually go in and move the characters,” she said. “It’s just a creative way to bring about the material and kind of let them have action rather than just sitting and listing to a lecture.”
Andrew Smith, a biology teacher at East Rowan, said technology helps give his students an active stake in the learning process.
“For my unmotivated students, the students who I have the hardest time trying to really convince the learning material that we’re going over is important, I think it really grabs their attention,” he said. “It’s able to take students who typically would be turned off by the material and turn them on. I think that’s the power that technology has.”
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.
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