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Technology at BCES

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POSTED: May 8, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Technology is used in many ways at Bryan County Elementary School. Assessment is used to drive instruction at our school and technology is integral to the assessment process. Technology is used to target areas that need improvement, provide immediate feedback to classroom teachers, for remediation, acceleration, and to track mastery of the curriculum. Technology is also used to meet the different learning styles of students at our school and to make the curriculum interactive and exciting. Parent communication has also greatly increased as a result of technology use at Bryan County Elementary School.

First let’s focus on assessment. Students are assessed at the beginning of the year using Star Reading and Star Math software. The results of these assessments are then used to determine starting reading levels and math levels in the Accelerated Reader and Accelerated Math programs. These software programs allow students to progress at their own pace throughout the year, thus allowing the student to accelerate beyond the content that is being currently taught in the classroom. These software programs also serve to reinforce instruction that is taking place in the classroom. These assessments are given three times during the year and are used to track mastery of the curriculum, adjust the curriculum, and provide feedback to the administration about the effectiveness of the curriculum.

Students take the Georgia Online Assessment System benchmark tests three times during the year. Teachers analyze the results of these tests to determine classroom strengths and weaknesses. Instruction is then adjusted based on the results of these assessments. Curriculum maps and content pacing charts may then be adjusted based on these results.

Students that need remediation in the areas of reading and math are enrolled in intervention programs. The Early Intervention System incorporates several different software programs that are used to build the student’s math skills and reading fluency. These students work regularly with the software programs and paraprofessionals to boost their mastery of the curriculum.

Students get excited when they see the Turning Point remotes sitting on their teacher’s desk. All teachers at Bryan County Elementary School either have a Turning Point System in their room or share a unit with other teachers. Turning Point is an instant assessment remote system that allows the teacher to get immediate feedback on student progress. The teacher creates an assessment in PowerPoint. The students then answer the questions using small handheld remotes. The answers are tallied both anonymously and instantly. A graph shows the teacher what percentage of their students got the answer correct.

If the teacher notices that the students struggled with a question they can immediately re-teach the material. This cuts out a lot of wasted time. No longer does the teacher have to wait until the end of the week for a quiz or the end of a unit for the test to see if students are mastering the content. This instant formative assessment serves to improve the academic performance of students.

The curriculum comes alive in the classroom with the aid of ceiling mounted projectors and Interwrite School Pads. Every classroom at Bryan County Elementary school has a ceiling mounted projector and an Interwrite School Pad. The School Pad allows the teacher to control their computer from anywhere in the classroom. The Interwrite Workspace software that accompanies the School Pad has amazing maps, charts, and diagrams that make the content stimulating. The students love it when they get a chance to use the School Pad for things such as measuring an angle using the built in protractor, or labeling the geographic features of a country.

 

The School Pad and the ceiling mounted projectors help the curriculum to become interactive and exciting. This technology also appeals to a wider variety of learning styles. This technology can be used to motivate students that are not normally excited about the use of more traditional means of instruction.

 

Technology is also used to improve achievement by improving communication with parents. The school website and a software program called Parent Connect are utilized by Bryan County Elementary School to increase parental involvement and communication.

 

The school website is used as the center piece for parent communication. Parents have access to the school calendar, faculty email addresses, and a host of other information. The Parent Access page of the website provides information about how to take practice CRCT tests from home, and how to access the student’s textbooks from home. Students and parents can also access Nettrekker, a grade-level appropriate search engine designed for kids. A monthly parent newsletter is also available on the website that provides parents with ideas on ways to assist their children at school as well as how to increase communication with their children.

 

A link to Parent Connect can also be found on the school website. Parent Connect is a piece of software that provides parents access to their students grades, attendance records, health records, and access to their teachers email addresses. This information is updated daily and provides parents with the ultimate tool to stay informed about their child’s progress in school.

 

Bryan County Elementary school is also fortunate to have a full time Technology Specialist that serves the school exclusively. The technology specialist makes sure that all the technology is in top condition, updates the website, and reviews and purchases the equipment and software to meet the needs of the students. The technology specialist also collaborates with the teachers and shares ways to integrate technology into the curriculum. Staff development is generated by the technology specialist that focuses on how to use the technology that is available to improve academic performance.

 

These are exciting times at Bryan County Elementary School. We are striving to use technology to improve the academic achievement of our students. Technology is integrated into the daily lives of teachers and students at our school and we are beginning to see the benefits of its use.

 

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