Gone are the days of chalkboards and worksheets in the classroom. Instead iPads, laptop computers and smart boards are the primary resources aiding teaching in the classroom.
Students at Wasatch Elementary in Provo are surrounded by technology. The up-to-date resources help students learn and connect with the world. The school boasts more than 300 student computers in classrooms, computer labs and mobile-laptop carts. Televisions, mp3 players and iPads also provide students with opportunities to learn. Even kindergartners are logging on computers every day to take advantage of programs teaching them letters and sounds.
“It is so fun to watch them and they just love computer time,” said Deniece Ord, a first grade teacher at Wasatch Elementary. “They know so much about the computers and just take off. It is better for them to be challenged on a program than to do a worksheet.”
Special education and specialty classrooms benefit from the use of technology integration in addition to regular classrooms.
Frank Thompson, a teacher and instructor for special education students, said using iPads in the classroom helps students in a way a pen and paper cannot.
“Lots of times special education students struggle with writing so we have been having them use Pages on the iPads,” Thompson said. “As soon as I bring out the iPads they just light up. It is easier for the students to type, and it is easier to edit their work. They are proud and want to share their work with others. Using the iPads helps them feel more grown up.”
Wasatch Elementary music teacher Jessica Biancardi said she uses her classroom Promethean smart board to demonstrate musical concepts to her students. The Promethean board displays lessons she creates on her laptop and she can navigate through the lessons using a smart pen. In addition to flipping through her lesson on the board, the pen can write, highlight and erase on the board.
“I use the Promethean board every day because my students do a lot of reading on the board,” Biancardi said. “The kids love coming up and writing and filling in notes on the board. Technology always keeps their attention.”
A lesson created and displayed on the smart board saves teachers time because they don’t have to erase and write it on a chalkboard every time they have a new class. The flip chart saved on the teachers computer can be retrieved with every new class and can be saved from year to year.
Online resources also aid teachers in lesson plans and classroom activities. Provo School District provides Wasatch Elementary with an extensive high-speed network allowing all school computers instant access to the Internet.
“My class uses activities online all the time,” said Christine Whatcott, a fourth grade teacher at Wasatch Elementary. “It is impractical to look through a book for resources I can’t provide when we can get so much information with a mouse click. I have my students look stuff up online all the time.”
Thompson said he was impressed with how much some of the young students know more about the technology.
“They come to us already knowing more than we do,” Thompson said.