Thursday Feb 03 2011
Technology in Lincoln Schools WPUSD Technology: a blueprint for success
By: Travis Deuerling Special to The News Messenger
Technology is moving; we help it, we fight it, it overwhelms us and it blows our minds. Advanced technology is paving new ways and styles of teaching faster than anyone could imagine. Any skeptic could easily be convinced of the way technology is leading the future by visiting the inaugural Western Placer Unified School District’s Technology Expo on Tuesday, Jan. 25. The expo consisted of science and technology demonstrations from nearly every school in the school district. The Technology Expo was made of long rows of booths displaying advances in modern teaching and learning technology accompanied by amazed children, equally amazed parents and school district faculty. Some booths consisted of live international Skype chatting, real working robot demonstrations, GPS guided telescopes, a competitive dance-off (braved only by the less self-aware middle- and elementary-school students) and much more. Mary Boyle is the deputy superintendent of educational services for the Western Placer Unified School District. When asked what she hoped to accomplish with this year’s Technology Expo, she said, “exposing families to the amount of technology that is going on in the classrooms, how technology really enhances the learning experience. I’m watching a little girl improve her reading right now using technology.” Most booths were manned by classroom teachers. Jason Noonan is in charge of both GEMS TV and Good Morning Glen Edwards, video-production courses taught at Glen Edwards Middle School. Noonan said the Technology Expo “is a cool way to show off what individual schools are doing. Many people aren’t aware of what teachers and students are doing in technology.” English teachers Ersula Bombard, Jennifer Nelson and Holli Little were running a booth regarding the online essay grading system, Criterion, and the recently popularized website for turning in assignments, the aptly-named turnitin.com. When asked their favorite aspect about the Technology Expo, the English teachers said it was “to get to see how our district is on the move.” School district’s Director of Technology Bob Lyons said that the biggest goal of the expo was to “get the community out to see what’s going on in the classrooms.” This goal was definitely achieved due to the huge turnout of an estimated crowd of 400 children and parents attending the expo. A very worthwhile raffle took place throughout the night. The first round was for teachers attending only and the prizes were document cameras, which is a tool used in classrooms to magnify something on a desk and project it onto the board in high clarity. The document cameras were won by Anita Moya, a teacher at First Street Elementary, Lincoln High School journalism teacher Debbie Tofft and Lincoln High teacher Jared Amalong. Starbucks cards and LHS Live t-shirts were also given away in the raffle. The most eye-catching prize was a Droid tablet, valued at $600. This hot-button prize was won by Jeremy Lyche, principal at Twelve Bridges Elementary School. This modern technology is having more of an impact on how we live with each passing day, and now with the aid of programs like the Technology Expo, teachers, parents and students can all be equally aware of the immense advantages advancing technology is having on the way we teach, learn and live. Travis Deuerling is a Lincoln High School junior and Zebra Tales co-editor.