Exeter Elementary School officials look at new technology

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Tim Jordan, Exeter Elementary School principal, shows Lucretia Brattin, librarian and professional development chair, devices from Lenovo that could be purchased for teachers and students to use in the classrooms. Lenovo sent four devices for the school to borrow to decide if one would be right for the teachers. Kayla Monahan/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

School hopes to purchase devices for use in classrooms

Exeter Elementary School Principal Tim Jordan has been researching new technology devices that could be used in the school.

"Education is changing," he said. "Our focus is on good instruction, but we realize that students are different now."

While considering what technology would be the next step, Jordan requested a tech kit from Lenovo. The company sent a laptop and two different brands of convertible tablet PCs. The school is not charged for the device, so long as they are returned unharmed.

"The core of our leadership is to empower teachers to be part of the decision-making process," Jordan said.

Jordan shared the Lenovo devices and several other devices with the teachers, allowing them to use the devices and decide which one is the best fit. He asked teachers to complete a survey to narrow down their choices and decide which device would be the best, not only for teaching, but eventually for student use.

"We want to get teachers what they need," said Lucretia Brattin, librarian and professional development chair. "Technology can be an enhancement to good instruction."

Brattin has created documents showing the pros and cons of the new devices, which she hopes will aid teachers in making a decision.

The ideas that seem best for the school will be presented to the board for approval.

"We want to be wise not only about technology, but also the financial side," Jordan said. "How much we spend now for the teachers will affect how much we can spend later for students."

Jordan said students are growing up with devices like iPads and cell phones in their hands, and since that is how they are learning at home, it is a natural fit to use them in the classroom.

"Students in the future will be doing jobs we don't even know about right now," Brattin said. "We have to build a sense of inquiry and teach them to be ready to solve problems, and we can use technology to teach that to students."

Jordan said all the classrooms at Exeter are equipped with a projector and a computer connected to the Internet. He said this has helped teachers adapt to technology, and to be able to incorporate ideas into their lessons, such as short videos before class.

"The school was set up last summer with a wifi backbone to be able to provide wifi if all students were using devices, which Jordan said is the long-term goal.

Jordan has also switched the school to Gmail, so staff can take advantage of features like Google documents. He said they would like to begin "flipping the classroom," which is a mix of online and face-to-face learning. The students would be able to access a video or reading material at home, then jump into a discussion upon arriving in class.

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