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ActivBus visits community for demonstration of classroom technology
by Liz Marino
lmarino@neighbornewspapers.com
January 23, 2013 12:54 PM | 1756 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Joe Livingston<br>Douglas School System employee George Chip uses a tablet to interact with demonstrations given by Promethean Teaching and Learning Consultant Kylee Moose.
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Last week, parents and community members got to participate in a hands-on, interactive demonstration of learning technology that students in Douglas County schools use daily in their classrooms.

The Promethean ActivBus rolled into various locations in the community to allow taxpayers to see firsthand how their E-SPLOST vote is helping students learn.

“If the community had not voted for E-SPLOST,” said Todd Hindmon, executive director of technology for the Douglas County School System, “this would not have been possible.”

As part of the 21st Century Classroom, defined by the school system’s technology committee, this offers students access to devices and interactive technology in every classroom, an interactive slate for every teacher, a document camera, access to a printer, a voice enhancement system and access to other tools, Hindmon explained.

As of December, every classroom in Douglas County Schools has a Promethean board and interactive response devises — all paid through E-SPLOST funding.

Participants with an interactive response unit, which somewhat resembled a TV remote, were able to interact with a teacher using a Promethean board to answer questions and text to the computer answers beyond multiple choice or true-false, said Hindmon.

The Promethean board is light years beyond the rudimentary chalkboard or dry erase.

Research has shown the device improves classroom discipline and student engagement, Hindmon noted.

“It allows teachers to better engage students,” Hindmon said, “as well as immediately determine whether the students have learned the material, or if he should reteach it.”

Hindmon said esteemed educator / researcher Dr. Robert Marzano had discovered that where an interactive board is used appropriately, there was a 17 percent increase in student achievement.

“The big part is student achievement,” said Hindmon. “That’s the power behind it.”

Within the next couple of years, said Hindmon, every classroom will have its own document camera, which can project notes and objects onto a screen — in real time.

He noted that during biology class, the process of dissecting a frog would be able to be projected on a screen with this device.

Teachers no longer have to raise their voices in the classroom, because of voice enhancement technology which offers use of a microphone and speakers in the ceiling, Hindmon explained.

Currently, the school system owns one ActivTable which can be utilized by six students at one time, according to Hindmon.

The interactive table encourages group activities to help develop collaborative and social skills among students.

Bring Your Own Technology is the next step in furthering technology in the schools, said Hindmon.

“BYOT will be on line in every school by the end of the 2012-13 school year upon principal request,” said the technology director.
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