Technology in the classroom

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BMS parents get a look at learning today

By Tom Wilmoth

    It’s a brand new world for students today.


    Smart boards have replaced chalk boards; iPads are now just as important as notebooks.
    Last Thursday, parents of students at Bedford Middle School had the chance to observe just how technology is changing the way their children learn.
    The SOL Fair gave them the opportunity to hear information about strategies that are being used in the classrooms along with seeing demonstrations on technology, projects and other learning opportunities.
    And they also got to eat, if they wanted. A 21st Century Grant provided dinner from Subway for those attending.
    Seventh grader Summer Stewart and teacher Sylvia Robertson played a game from boards that students created as part of a chemical-bonds unit. Meanwhile, close by, Aaron Plattus studied a heat transfer project as part of a look at the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
    And then, down in the math room, Charlie Backlund used a smart board to use 3-D solids to build different shapes.
    And that was just the beginning. Parents could see how technology was being used in the foreign language and creative writing rooms, in physical education, computer and tech ed and in art and history as well—just to name a few. Students today don’t just find questions on a traditional method; today those questions might be embedded in a QR code. The result: Answering questions can become a scavenger hunt for the students.
    “We wanted our parents to experience what our students are doing in the classroom with new technology,” stated BMS Principal Rhetta Watkins, about the SOL Fair.
    The 21st Century Grant, which provides funding for before- and after-school programs, has helped the school purchase such equipment. And that equipment is available for the students to use all day long.
    “That’s how students learn (today),” Watkins said of the use of new technology.
    Much of the SOL testing is now done online. Students even use a Wii to help with exercises in phys ed.
    And Watkins is glad for the opportunity to have that technology available to students. “We’ve been very fortunate to be participating in it,” she said of the grant’s influence on learning. “We’re using this in every curriculum area, across the board.”