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BC News

Dec. 13, 2011

Teaching tech

Eagle teacher, students showcase technology in the classroom

Laurel Jones is making sure her Eagle students are not only aware of how to use technology, but how to use it safely and responsibly.

Laurel Jones talks technology

Eagle Elementary Fourth grade teacher Laurel Jones brought a handful of her students to the Regional Technology Awareness Day, an annual event organized by the Northeastern Regional Information Center, on Dec. 9.

Gone are the days of handing in work on wide-ruled paper – Jones’ fourth graders use Microsoft Word to type book letters to Jones, post them on the class wiki for review and share their work through social media and podcasts.

“I try to show the kids that none of these things is really scary,” said Jones.

“In fact, these programs – or some version of them – are what these students will use when they get older and into college and the working world. They need to be familiar with them and know how to use them appropriately.”

To that end, Jones doesn’t just teach the kids the functionality of technology, but also the proper way to use it to interact with other students.

“The kids have the ability to comment on one another’s book letters on the wiki, so we use that to learn what an acceptable comment is and what isn’t,” she said.

It’s the same with social media. The class has a Twitter account (@teamjones4, see the feed at left) and tweeting is an exercise in democracy. Knowing they only have 140 characters to compose a message, the children have to agree on what they want to tweet, what is acceptable to tweet and what has to be edited out.

“Twitter is a great tool to teach fourth graders revision,” said Jones. “Elementary school kids of any age hate revising their work. They want to write something once and be done with it. But Twitter forces them to go back and revise, and it teaches the students that revision is okay and is necessary.”

So revise they do, and happily. And when everyone gives the “thumbs up,” the tweet is sent.

Jones brought a handful of her students to the Regional Technology Awareness Day, an annual event organized by the Northeastern Regional Information Center, on Dec. 9.

After Jones gave a quick presentation on how she uses technology in her classroom, it was the students’ time to shine. Fifth graders Callie Kniffen, Jack Bievenue, Piper Gregory and Langston Williams, along with fourth graders Ethan Martin, Henry Bievenue, Sean Leslie, Kiersten Murray and Celia Marie Decancio, wowed educators from across the state by showcasing the great technology used to enhance instruction from kindergarten to fifth grade.

“This is the world the kids live in,” said Jones.

See the Technology Awareness Day photo gallery here.

See the videos presented by Jones at Technology Awareness Day, here and here.

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