Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - September 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Lovelady Students Showcase Technology
Houston County Courier - September 2008
By Sharron Randall
On Monday, Sept. 15, five Lovelady Elementary 4th graders will present "Think, Read, Beam" projects using handheld devices (Palm T/X)) to the Lovelady Independent School District Board of Trustees.
The presentation is the culmination of a year-long project which began with the vision of technology director Kent Bowman, supported by elementary principal Debbie Harrelson, Superintendent John Reynolds and the Lovelady School Board that providing financial support for the program.
In the fall of 2007 Lovelady began year one of a three-year one-to-one initiative. Each fourth grade student was issued a Palm Pilot that was used daily in the core curriculum content areas. The devices cost between $350-$400 each.
By April, with instruction by 4th grade language arts teacher Kerri Campbell and math/science/ social studies teacher Shannon Campbell, students had improved in reading comprehension, were absent less, had 100 percent homework completion and practiced better discipline.
Better yet, as witnessed by teachers and administrators, students were coming to school eager to learn and better focused. During the year these fourth graders wrote daily journal entries, stories, illustrated stories using animation that included voice, color, speed, and other features.
A graphing program was added during the year to help students with math and science. Tests and quizzes were "beamed" back to the teachers, and along the way, students "became the teachers."
Students taught themselves, each other, and their parents about new technical elements and features not covered in the classroom. The end result was a rating of "Recognized," on the TAKS tests.
The Lovelady School Board was then called upon for more support of this innovative project.
They provided financial support for making it possible for the students and teachers to attend the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) sponsored by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), held in San Antonio June 29-July 2 attended by over 18,000 educators from around the world.
So five fourth grade students shared individual projects they had created using handheld technology during one of the convention's 2-hour open area forums titled "Think, Read, Bean,"
Morgan Starns, using favorite ice cream flavors, presented a math survey entered into charts and graphs; Kaylee M. Campbell's project included "Tuff" Cam video demonstration on "How to Wash a Dog," including a written paper using the hand held device;
Paige Shearer typed a journal entry in a word document and then recorded her voice into mp3 file; Riley Wiggins' used the Novi Animator and illustrated the water cycle in the curriculum area of science and Morgan Keeling narrated parts of a book and recorded her voice.
The fourth grade students are now fifth graders and their Palm Pilots went with them. Ms. K. Campbell announced to her fourth graders Thursday, Sept. 4, "Your hand held devices have been ordered; they'll be here soon."
Students are assigned an ID number, sign a contract and if parents want the devices to go home with the child, they are required to sign a contract too. In any case, every fourth and fifth grade student has a Palm Pilot, which will move up with him or her.
Ms. S. Campbell said that by the time 2007 4th graders get to 8th grade, every student will have some sort of electronic device offering technical assistance: either a handheld device or a lap top.
Principal Debbie Harrelson said, "We are so proud of our students. Next year's conference is in Washington D.C. Our students will be working on projects this school year, and hopefully we'll be chosen by Region VI Service Center to go."
The only school district in Region VI to use this instructional handheld technology in classrooms, Lovelady ISD is to be commended for accepting the challenge.