BOURBON — “Slow and steady wins the race” might describe Triton School Corporation’s deliberate entry into contemporary instructional technology. Plans and progress were shared at a recent Tech Open House held at both the elementary and Jr./Sr. high school.
Triton received $1.2 million in a recent bond issue. Of that money, approximately $600,000 has been spent wirelessly connecting the entire school system. Each classroom in both school buildings was provided with a white board, a document camera, and a teacher’s control station. The large electronic board allows teachers to display for the entire class websites, prepared material, and even student work.
In addition, a new lab called Tech Spot was furnished in the elementary school. The lab has a computer for each student, a teacher’s control console, and a white board and document camera. The lab will allow teachers to instruct the entire class at once using cutting-edge technology, as opposed to traditional lecture/chalk board. The lab is available to all classes by scheduled sign-up. The school also has a traditional computer lab in which each student can work independently using a computer.
Fifth-grade teacher Brittany Brosman and sixth-grade teacher Theresa Watkins demonstrated the system at the elementary portion of the open house. The teachers are experimenting with such software as Lifebinders, a program with tabs including a presentation tool, digital storytelling, creativity, management and organization, social networking, content resources, and classroom tools. Of the latter, Brain Pop is a fun activity designed to improve acuity. Watkins requires two Brain Pop assignments a day from her sixth-graders. Also in use are Think Central (science fusion) and Jeopardy Labs (a review site).
At the Jr./Sr. high school, biology teacher Dawn Slein continued the presentation with a more in-depth explanation of the white board. She demonstrated her MOBI — a portable tablet the teacher can use to control the board as she/he walks around the room interacting with students. She indicated that the school is looking at “My Big Campus,” a tool in which students sign in and she can put up any website.
Superintendent Donna Burroughs said that the corporation is heading toward a 1:1 computer usage ratio. (Each student will have a portable unit.) Unlike nearby school systems which have already implemented 1:1, Triton is waiting to make the “big purchase” of individual computers following a careful review of options. Director of Technology Ted Fisher indicated that the preference is for PC based laptops rather than Apple products, and that one possibility being tested is the Kuno III by Droid. Roughly $600,000 is still available from the bond issue for purchasing individual computers.
The careful process being implemented is designed to ensure that each Triton student will become computer-savvy and workplace or college-ready.