Trailside technology on display
May 19, 2007
If one word were chosen to define the method of learning at Trailside Elementary School, it likely would be ‘technology.’
First through fifth-grade students took their hand-held electronics for a demonstration spin, to the amazement of school guests, during ‘Trailside Technology Showcase."
You see how engaged the kids are," said Trailside principal Martha Crook. "You wouldn’t see that if they were instead writing a report." Crook has been instrumental in encouraging Trailside teachers to bring in the latest technology to incorporate in their classes.
"Kids learn differently these days," Crook said, adding, "Technology is everywhere. You see kids with iPods, cell phones desktops and Palm Pilots.We are preparing them for jobs that don’t even exist now." Crook said they are making Palm Pilots availed for check-out by students, in a lending program called "24 and 7."
Students representing their technology classes, stood next to their Powerpoint presentations, movies and demonstration boards, eager to show what they had created electronically.
Fourth-grade students Adam Proffit, Katie Ivers, Alex Rothman and Sean Mellin, demonstrated hand-held electronics which allow them to test themselves on core subjects, electronically register their answers during tests, and play action-packed learning games.
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"We’ve learned a lot on these, most of our math," Ivers said of the pink electronic device she was holding. Some of the students have purchased similar set-ups for home use.
One of the game-cards that can be used on the device, is called "Brain Age," designed for seniors as a mental acuity tool, but adapted to student use by Trailside teacher Sam Thompson. One girl said, the first time she tried it, the game told her she had the mental acuity of an 80-year-old.
After the display portion ended the computer lab projects began. Jaymee Hoffman’s favorite project was making a comic strip on a computer. "It was about a guy named Jack, who lived in Alaska," she said. "He fell through the ice and I had to rescue him."
Fifth-grade students Hunter Kelsch and Connor Zimmerman were conducting knee and hip surgery on their computers, with graphics and audio making the sawing of bones all too realistic. Would either become surgeons? Kelsh: "No." Zimmernam, "Yeah, I have a strong stomach."
Technology teacher Patty Shirey said "These guys think they are playing video games, but they’re doing knee surgery. Kids learn so fast."
"This in not an unusual day, except that we’ve invited the public in to see what their kids can do," Crook said. "We’re always asking ourselves, how could we better help our kids learn?"
Crook reflected on the ‘old-school of learning.’
"Flash cards don’t do it these days."