Times are changing inside the classroom. The days of projectors and chalkboards are long gone. They've now been replaced with smart boards and iPads. Our Iris St. Meran visited two districts that are implementing these tools in the classroom and looking ahead to the future.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Students in Michael Perkins' sixth grade class in Tully are getting quizzed. No pen or paper is required to answer. Just a tap of the hand is needed.
Tully Central Schools Superintendent Kraig Pritts said, "They're not just writing on a board. They're engaged. They're causing things to happen through their actions. And in that case you were looking at a smart board, which is an example we're working to incorporate in our classrooms."
The classrooms now look a lot different from what many of us remember. In fact, we had a hard time finding a chalkboard in Tully, but there were virtual ones. This district isn't alone. Places like West Genesee are also incorporating new gadgets.
West Genesee Central Schools Superintendent Christopher Brown said, "We're using iPod touches, we’re using net books, we're using laptops, we're using iPads and we're also using some other sensor technology."
This technology is being introduced to students as early as kindergarten. Pritts says the way we communicate has changed and schools have to keep up with that so students are prepared when they graduate.
Children are still learning the basics like writing and cursive, it's just being taught earlier. Students can do their work anywhere now, but the intention is not to replace teachers with computers.
"Good teaching can't be done by a computer,” said Pritts.
Brown says there's no research out yet showing computers improve instruction, but they have helped in other ways.
"What you do find that it helps students to multitask,” Brown added. “It does show that people who do need a lot of repetitive tasks, going through flashcards for multiplication tables, that kind of thing, the computer has been show to improve achievement in that area."
More and more classrooms will begin to operate in this way. The challenge is keeping up with the ever changing technology, but it's a movement that is both welcomed and unavoidable.
Both superintendents say the state is planning to change over to all computer based testing for assessments in a few years.