With the start of the new school year, classrooms have received an array of new technology. The MVLA Foundation opted to purchase new projectors and document cameras for the school this year after a presentation by chemistry teacher and yearbook adviser Danielle Paige and biology teacher Greg Stoehr.
Stoehr and Paige used the new technology in meetings to show the committee how technology could be useful in a classroom environment.
The $70,000 project to technologically update the school was not only funded by the MVLA Foundation. The funding for document cameras, projectors, and SMART Boards (used in the Math Department) was spread between the MVLA Foundation, the state, and an anonymous parent donation.
The new document camera uses a live video feed and the new projector to display worksheet on a large screen at the front of the classroom.
“I think every class should have a document camera because it is helpful to see a visual explanation in addition to an auditory explanation,” sophomore Omri Maor said.
This new technology is utilized by departments like Science, English, Math, History and ELD. However, not every classroom contains the new technology.
“[Teachers] had to apply for [the new technology] and fill out an application on how they would use them,” Stoehr said. “Then a committee decided whether to give it to them or not.”
According to Principal Wynne Satterwhite, the teachers who expressed the most interest in the technology were chosen. However, students are expressing interest in the technology as well.
“These document cameras are great, because now the teachers can easily show us the lesson plans on a big screen,” freshman David Kirk said. “It makes my life a lot easier.”
The document cameras and projectors are not the only new gadgets used in the classroom this year. Math teacher Teresa Dunlap is one of four teachers who have recently acquired new SMART Boards, which are high-tech “interactive” whiteboards. This new whiteboard is a mixture of a computer and a whiteboard in one. Teachers can run applications from their computers on its surface and save work done on the board to a hard drive.
“It’s easier for kids to see PowerPoint presentations and websites,” Dunlap said. “I find that a lot of kids that were reluctant to put the problems up are more excited to use the SMART Board now.”
However, with new technology comes a transition from old teaching methods to new, which may be tough for some teachers.
“I think over time [the SMART Board] will make things easier, but initially it’s a lot of work trying to create lessons that are SMART Board-based,” Dunlap said.
The school does not plan on stopping at this technology; Stoehr and physics teacher Adam Randall have a list of new technologies to be added such as probe-wear for labs and a new system of “clickers,” which are a series of little remotes. As questions are directed to the student, every student answers using the clicker. The goal of these instruments is to increase participation in the class, as the students who are too shy to answer get to participate as well.
According to Stoehr, these new technological gadgets “make learning easier.”