History has shown that education has seen many changes over the course of time. These changes once took decades to occur. But today, changes in education are happening at a much quicker pace. Some of that change is due to technology. As technology continues to evolve, educational systems are faced with the challenge of preparing students to be technologically literate in a global society.
Richmond Hill Middle School has worked diligently to meet the technological needs of our students. Each classroom has both teacher and student computers and an LCD projector. Two stationary technology labs and four wireless labs are located in the school. Turning Point Instant Response Systems with student remotes that provide immediate feedback to both teachers and students are available for use. School pads are another technology tool that can be used with other software; anything written or displayed on the school pad will be projected onto a screen.
So how does this technology enhance instruction at Richmond Hill Middle School? Teachers and students can create Power Point presentations. Teachers use these to engage students in learning by including photos, video and audio clips, diagrams, and maps. Students in sixth grade complete online research of planets and design a brochure using Microsoft Publisher. Seventh grade students participate in virtual dissection labs that provide step by step instructions to either prepare students for actual dissections or to dissect a species that is not available to them. Eighth grade students have witnessed a session of the Georgia General Assembly, toured the capitol building, and viewed photos of various people, places, and events in Georgia on the Vanishing Georgia collection. These are but a few examples teachers offer in addition to Connections courses that are technology based.
Justin Sasser, a 7th grade student, said, "Technology makes learning easier and more fun." He likes the many visuals that are accessible through United Streaming and appreciates the way those visuals make the faraway places he studies come alive. Hannah Nichols, also a 7th grade student, enjoys the different review games because the immediate feedback helps her prepare for tests.
Josh Hoffman and Savannah Highsmith, 6th grade students, enjoy creating different projects using computers. Both like having quick access to a wealth of information via the Internet to prepare the projects. They also like locating places on a map using the school pad and think this is a great way to review for their tests. Josh and Hannah like that computers make the impossible possible. To illustrate their point, while using the computer Josh and Hannah could see a diagram of the seafloor after the water in the ocean was drained.
Emily Winters, an 8th grade student, thinks it is helpful when her math teacher uses the Virtual TI graphing calculator to show the relationship between two variables. The virtual TI graphing calculator enables equations to be graphed more quickly than by hand.
Technology also makes assessment data readily available. This data is analyzed to adjust instruction to improve student achievement. With the focus placed on high-stakes testing, this is a valuable tool to help guide instruction.
RHMS is dedicated to providing our students ample opportunities to become productive citizens in a technological society.
Written by Sheri Rushing, curriculum resources teacher for RHMS.