By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Teachers turn to technology for classroom instruction
tech in class pic2
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} Brock Vieira, third grader at Turlock Christian, demonstrates his math skills by dragging pictures of coins to the center of the smart board to equal the amount of change he should receive after buying French fries. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal

The Internet, social networking websites, text messaging and You Tube are all things students are growing up with, and as youth become more tech savvy, teachers find themselves updating their tools of instruction to keep up with the times.

“It is bringing the familiarity into the classroom,” said Brianne Ferguson, sixth grade teacher at Brown Elementary School. “They play video games and go on the computer at home, so it is normal to them. That is what they are used to.”

More and more teachers are turning from the traditional tools of teaching, such as black boards and chalk, to technology-based mediums.

“It is easier access for students to get full access to learning,” Ferguson said.

The smart board is one tool now seen in classrooms. It gives teachers the option to project all their lesson plans on a screen that students can actually touch and manipulate objects. Students use hand-held clickers to answer questions on the smart board. No longer are pencils and papers necessary for pop quizzes.

To learn about Martin Luther King Jr., students don’t just read his speech in a history book anymore, said Pam Hanson, Turlock Christian Elementary School principal. Now with the smart board, teachers can actually pull up a video so students can hear him deliver the speech in Washington D.C. in 1963.

“It is a multi-sensory approach,” Hanson said. “It is using higher level thinking skills for students. Learning has increased tremendously.”

The smart board doesn’t replace the classic methods of teaching; it just provides more access to information such as photos, videos, sounds, 3-D photos and much more.

“It gives more access and presents things more easily,” said Dave Sutton, 5th grade teacher at Walnut Education Center.

He also has a smart board, but another device he uses is called the tablet. The tablet is a wireless device that has a 30 foot range from the teacher’s station where Sutton can write on the tablet and it appears on the board for his class to see.

He can even have a student demonstrate a math problem on the tablet while other students watch on the smart board.

“You can write on it and it shows up on the board,” Sutton said. “Everyone can see the same thing.”

Walnut students have a studio on campus where they learn how to shoot and edit their own videos, he said.

Students who have grown up in the age of You Tube can now learn to make their own videos.

And through videos, students can get more access to information than through a text book.

Turlock Christian High School is also working on bringing more live videos to their instruction through Skype, said Sherman Glenn, Turlock Christian Schools superintendent.

The high school is trying to Skype their way into college lectures at Biola University in Southern California.

They also plan to use Skype to get first account reports from experts around the world on things they are learning in the classroom.

“They will get first-hand reports from experts who can’t travel here,” Glenn said.

Instead of just reading about the pyramids in Egypt, students will be able to get live tours of the pyramids from an expert.

“Kids now days need the stimulation,” Ferguson said. “They are growing up with Facebook and MySpace. They get a better connection with videos and photos and through technology; it hits more rounds of students.”

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.