Parents of Northview students should be prepared for a big shock this year when students come home from school and are really excited with their English classes.
This year is the first year with a new type of classroom. The one-on-one classroom is set up so that each student has their own computer screen.
Nine classrooms have been set up with individual computers, a LCD projector, and a smart screen that is interactive. The computers will be used in conjunction with two specific web-based programs, Criterion, which will help with writing prompts and assessment of any writing done in any subject, and INaccess which will is an across-the-board curriculum based program.
"These programs will allow for more individualized teaching for each student. Students will be able to see their strengths, and weaknesses in learning will be pointed out, and students will be shown how to turn those weak spots into strengths," Northview Principal Tim Rayle said.
The one-to-one classrooms were made possible by two grants, a Tech Plan Grant and an Ed Tech Grant. The cost of each classroom was $30,000.
"We needed to create an on-line academy," Rayle said. "If we hadn't got the ball rolling, we'd have been hurting the students, not helping."
Students will not have to write their papers and then do research in a separate class, they will be able to enter information into the computer, go on-line to do research, and complete their assignments right in the same classroom. This will result in less time spent changing classrooms and setting up and students will benefit from the faster access.
The response to this anticipated program has been tremendous.
"I'm sitting in here hooking up the computers and visitors to the school are looking in and saying things like, 'I can't wait to get to English class,'" Technology Director Bill Milner said. "Everyone is excited, and it's a good thing when students can get excited for a needed class like English."
Milner himself is excited about the new technology.
"We have been working so hard to get this up and running," Milner said. "The logistics in hooking up more than 300 computers is crazy. Running the wires, getting the desks built, and making sure they all work, well, it's been a madhouse in here. It's all worth it to hear the students sound so excited and proud."
The proof that this program works will be interesting to see.
"That first grading period will show if this is working. I don't have any doubt that scores will be higher. Students enjoy doing work on the computer, and with less time devoted to writing, I think that they will learn more." Rayle said. "This kind of classroom will also prepare students for life outside school. Many job employment applications are done on-line, and at many places applicants have to take some kind of test on the computer just to get hired. This will give many students needed experience to pass those tests, and that is a bonus."
"The best thing is that this kind of classroom has the potential to increase learning and self-esteem at the same time." Rayle said. "We want our students to be proud of what they accomplish and to know that they have mastered the needed curriculum. The teachers need to feel that same sense of accomplishment also. I think this will be a win-win project."