Assignment: Education- West Salem Technology-Part 2

High School Students are Using Mac Book Pros in the classroom

Published On: Oct 03 2012 11:14:10 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 08 2012 08:06:29 PM CDT
WEST SALEM, Wis. -

Mr. Brown's art students at West Salem High School are using a new tool in their art class.

A Mac Book Pro was given to all 560 high school students at the beginning of the school year.

"If you don't feel like going down to the library to look up something, it's very handy," said Alyssa Leonard, West Salem High School senior.

But like anything that's new there is a learning curve.

"I've never worked on a Mac. "So, it's been kind of difficult," said Quenten Brown, West Salem High School art teacher. "Honestly, it's a lot of my students helping me that's really helped the transition. Not only are they willing to help me, but they're willing to help other students as well."

The devices are being used by the students and teachers in almost every class throughout a student's day in multiple different ways.

"If you forget something like, 'oh what's the page number,' it's right on there and it's very helpful,"

"The kinds of things that they're already doing with this piece of equipment is just breathtaking sometimes to watch," said Troy Gunderson, West Salem School District superintendent. "In the commons watching them load up their math book on the internet, do their math problems, then download an assignment from an English teacher, comment on it, send it back, then ask their friends to help with math. Oh, I missed a lesson so I can watch yesterday because we taped it. I watched one student do that within a 30 minute period in study hall."

In science teacher Wayne Sackett's classroom, students are using the device along with a website called Edmodo to measure how much they learned during a class lesson.

"For example, today in class you know we were giong through our lecture and at the end I wanted some feedback. How did I do as a teacher," said Wayne Sackett, West Salem High School science teacher. "So they jumped on my Edmodo website. Took a little four question quiz. Kind of an exit quiz. The kids got some immediate feedback on how did they perform on that quiz. And now I can go, how did I do. I didn't hit this concept very well. I probably neeed to go back and re-teach that tomorrow."

The Edmodo website is a learning management tool that all of the teachers and students are now using to communicate online.

"It's really helped me organize a little bit better and helped my students as well," said Brown. "So, it's not like, 'oh, you didn't tell me that.' In fact, that happened the other day. It's going to go on Edmodo and I'll show you that I had the assignment there. The kids like, 'that's right. You did say that. It is due today. So, the organization and the accountability on due dates has been working out really well for me."

But educators want the community to know the computers aren't taking the place of other types of learning.

"This isn't the end-all be-all," said Wayne. "We're still going to do stuff. We're going to go back in the science lab and we're going to disect things and look at the microscopes. So this isn't the whole world. It's a tool. A powerful tool that will help us be more effective."