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Private schools lead way for technology in the classroom

Danielle Cox, 13, works on a laptop at Peace Lutheran School during a science lesson on cells. - Steven DeDual/staff photo
Danielle Cox, 13, works on a laptop at Peace Lutheran School during a science lesson on cells.
— image credit: Steven DeDual/staff photo

As technology grows and advances, more and more schools are beginning to teach by using more sophisticated, interactive methods, like interactive white boards and laptops.

Crosspoint Academy and Peace Lutheran School are but two examples of local schools taking advantage of the available technology.

An interactive white board uses touch technology for detecting input like a mouse or keyboard. A projector is used to display a computer’s video output onto the board, which then becomes a huge touchscreen. The SMART Board brand usually comes with four digital writing utensils that use digital ink, which works by using an active digitizer that controls the computer input information for writing capabilities such as drawing or handwriting.

Crosspoint Academy has two boards now and another two on order and has hired someone whose job it is to teach teachers how to use the technology effectively, according to Eric Rasmussen, superintendent of King’s Schools.

“We take technology very seriously,” he said. “We want to give our students the most comprehensive education possible.”

Peace Lutheran School also boasts two SMART Boards and seventh- and eighth-grade teacher Christina Swartwood said the technology has helped her immensely in her job as an educator.

“This technology has helped me as a teacher because I can move from a non-interactive resource, such as the traditional textbook, and pull in videos, photos and illustrations with instant access to current research and knowledge that I can share with my students,” she said.

Not only can she work on lessons of her own, she also has access to lessons from other teachers.

“I can find lessons from all over the country that other teachers have developed and put it to use right away with my class,” she said.

For Swartwood, preparing students for what they will encounter as adults is job one, and she said these new technologies make that much more possible to do.

“I feel that having these technological tools, I am better preparing my students for their future in the ‘real world,’” she said. “If they are exposed to and have the opportunity now to use the technology in the classroom, hopefully they will transfer that knowledge to the rest of their life throughout their school career and into the work force.”

Peace Lutheran’s small size has not inhibited the school’s forward progress, according to Swartwood.

“From my experience as a teacher at Peace, technology in all forms is a highly valued piece of the student’s education,” she said. “Even though we are a relatively small private school with no public funds, our school board, administration and parent league find the resources to help fund technology in the classroom and around the school.”

Swartwood said the technology available at the small Riddell Road school speaks volumes about their commitment to education.

“We have a school wide computer lab, document cameras and video projectors in every classroom,” she said. “And now with 30 laptop computers on a portable cart and two SMART Boards, I believe that shows our families and the community that we are staying not only current, but ahead of the curve when it comes to technology in a school.”

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