With headphones on and eyes glued to their own Chromebook tablet, second graders at Garner Elementary School are experiencing a whole new world through Internet access. For teacher Regina Phillips, the new technology helps her too.
"It helps me to differentiate reading and math skills so I can individualize lesson plans," Phillips said. "It also is more engaging for the students ... learning in different ways including quizzes, videos, and games."
Addisyn Atkinson and Ethan Stilson, both age 7, agree. "We get to learn on it. All kinds of stuff," said Ethan. "I like to read on it," said Addisyn.
The purchase of 35 Chromebooks and charging cart for the class was made possible by a $6,500 grant from the Clio Area Community and Wilson Family Funds.
"The use of technology for classroom instruction is a relatively new phenomenon," said Steve Keskes, Assistant Superintendent for Clio Area Schools. "The research suggests that there is increased student engagement, students can process large amounts of information more quickly, and they are able to identify pattern and rule recognition more readily."
Keskes has a bigger vision-to give every child in Clio the capacity and skills to achieve success both within the classroom and in the world outside of school. Through the 1:1 technology initiative, he hopes that every child will have access to classroom-based technology and internet access.
"Children and all people think in pictures, not text. We hope to develop literacy skills using web-based technologies to support our visual and auditory learners. "Our hope is to increase technology resources in every classroom across the District."
To accomplish this, Keskes said the District is leveraging other entitlement and at-risk grants to increase access.
"Piecing together a technology program this extensive is a challenge, a heavy lift for us. We are dedicated to our children's learning and we need to make our vision a reality."