Last Updated: Jan 8th, 2015 - 07:42:25

Tech-nology in the classroom
By Sarah Steele Wilson, Newsroom Editor
Feb 11, 2013, 11:09

photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Kindergartners at Patrick Copeland Elementary used iPads, Wiis and computers to learn math skills.

Digital Learning Day had an impact on at least one student at Patrick Copeland Elementary School in Hopewell.

While standing in line after a class that used Wii, computer and ipad based games to teach children math lessons, Kindergarten student Austin Campbell announced his plan.

“I’m going to change my name to megabyte,” he said.

It was a fitting statement. Bytes are units of digital information storage and transmission and the nationwide Digital Learning Day aims to promote better transmission to and storage of classroom lessons for students through the use of technology.
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson The use of iPods was a big hit with Patrick Copeland’s Kindergarten classes.

“The more you do with information, the more you recall it,” said Carolyn Kaufman, instructional technology resource teacher for the school.

She said that by linking educational ideas to Wii and computer games and iPod applications that involve actions, students use the information they are learning in a way that reinforces it.

Kaufman worked with teachers at different grade levels and principals at different schools to help bring the national event to the local level for the second year.

While most of the students who enter school today are what Kaufman called “digital natives,” strengthening their skills in that area will help prepare them for their future careers.
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Students took turns at the Wii controls and helped each other solve math problems.

“Can you imagine the jobs these kids will have?” she asked. “I read recently read that at least a quarter of the jobs they will hold have not been created yet.”

Since 2007, Hopewell schools have worked to acquire digital learning tools such as Wii machines and Promethean Boards. Patrick Copeland has seven Wiis, which can be checked out by teachers for lessons, and Promethean boards in every room.

While digital learning is becoming increasingly common, a fact illustrated by the addition of “ear buds” to the school supply list for the first time last September, the lack of education programs available for Wiis has required inventive thinking by teachers.
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Kindergarten students helped each other master their iPad based math lessons.

“There are very few lesson plans, so we’re kind of creating our own as we go along,” Kaufman said. “Our teachers are looking at the different pieces of games again and seeing how we can use them to teach some of our standards of learning.”

Patrick Copeland principal Susan Jones aid that the activities on display during digital learning day showed how teachers and technology can, and must, work together in an approach known as “blended learning.”
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Students donned headphones to play math oriented, child friendly computer games.

“We all know that blended learning is definitely coming and this is the way of the future,” she said. “...Kids have short attention spans these days. They’ll listen to the teacher for awhile, but you have to have other ways of getting them in.”

The children’s rapt attention as they leaned over iPods, manipulated computer screens and stood before the Wii was pointed to as evidence of their engagement.

“They had a blast,” said Kindergarten teacher Angela Hildreth.

The students rotated from classroom to classroom, where differing digital methods were used to teach a variety of different subjects, ranging from math to reading to social studies.

“Every room I went into, they were excited and engaged,” Hildreth said.

The day also proved a learning opportunity for teachers.

“The first time I brought iPods to the room, they were showing Ms. Whitfield how to use them,” Kaufman said, referencing Kindergarten teacher Joan Whitfield, who was helping students with math games.

Hildreth said it was exciting for the students to be the experts.

“They know more than we do, so they got to teach us,” she said. “That’s exciting.”

The day seemed to be a success with students, who agreed it was fun.
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Teachers said that students seemed particularly excited and engaged by technology.

“I was playing and I was learning stuff to play on a computer,” said five-year-old Amiya Formley.

“I played on an iPods and had a lot of fun with them,” she added.

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