The Times West Virginian

Opinion

August 21, 2013

Enthusiasm marks expanded use of technology in the classroom

A major change in education is under way in Raleigh County.

All students in grades 2-12 will be assigned an iPad2 during the current school year. Kindergarten and first-grade students will share an iPad Mini with one fellow student, and all iPads will remain the property of Raleigh County Schools.

Superintendent Jim Brown, according to The (Beckley) Register-Herald, spearheaded the movement a year ago following a meeting with an Apple representative at a superintendent’s conference in Charleston.

“We’re thrilled to death to get started,” Brown said. “We truly believe it will change the face of our classrooms.

“Every day, we learn of a new tool we’ll be able to access using an iPad in the classroom. It’s really limitless.”

One reason behind the move is the reality that hard copies of textbooks are likely to be harder to get in coming years.

“This year, we will have our first electronic textbook, which will be our social studies,” Brown said. “All existing editions are in place (in other subjects); it’s not something we’ll undo. But as we move through each of the adoptions, it’s very much planned we will be using the electronic version.

“This will be a process we’ll be phasing in over a period of time, but I can tell you the days of having the hardback textbooks are going away quickly.

“Vendors cannot continue to provide both an electronic version and a hard copy, so as the trend starts to take hold nationally, vendors will shift to eventually providing electronic textbooks.”

Raleigh County Board of Education President Rick Snuffer said the current cost of the iPad program is approximately $135 per student. Funds were redirected from other sources — including the cost of textbooks — to pay for the project.

Of course, the presence of iPads in the classroom doesn’t guarantee success in education. Teachers and students, no matter the technology available, are always at the heart of the process.

There will be ongoing expenses. Textbooks don’t last forever; neither do computers and the technology associated with them.

Nevertheless, the Raleigh County program illustrates exciting possibilities and deserves continuing attention, from within the county and across the state.

“E-teaching tools can be adapted for individual students, but most importantly, they can be updated at a flick of a switch,” Diane W. Mufson, a retired psychologist, wrote in The (Huntington) Herald-Dispatch. “Textbooks are generally replaced on a five- to seven-year cycle, during which major scientific discoveries are made, countries change their borders and world leaders come and go. Imagine if you did not have access to new information for the past five years.”

Raleigh County teachers had extensive training before school got under way and will receive more during the year.

Brown expects “redefinition” of the classroom in the not-too-distant future, such as the ability to connect with students from around the world.

Most of today’s young people are familiar with technology by the time they begin school, so it’s natural that their education enables them to build on what they experience daily outside the classroom.

“Children today have never known anything but technology, so we have to look at new ways to engage them in the educational process,” Snuffer said. “They become more excited in the educational process through (iPad use).

“I think it will change the way we do education in Raleigh County.”

Success there — if iPad use enables more economical distribution of additional up-to-date educational material and leads to a more productive environment for students and educators — could also spark change in Marion County and throughout West Virginia.

It was announced during Monday’s Marion County Board of Education meeting that students would be testing online. We think that’s a giant step into the digital world for our county and we would hope that the board would consider other steps like Raleigh County.

Just a few weeks on the job, Chad Norman, administrative assistant of technology for the Central Office of Marion County Schools, has expressed a great deal of enthusiasm with progressive thinking when it comes to the use of technology in the classroom.

“We want to move forward to grow Marion County technology,” he said. “We want to have the best technology for our teachers and our students in the state of West Virginia in a short amount of time. We’re going to bring that same enthusiasm and that same pride to this job.”

We encourage Marion County to look deeper into “pilot” programs that incorporate technology like putting an iPad in each student’s hands.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely

    The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
    It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
    It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.

    July 23, 2014

  • Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer

    July 22, 2014

  • Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life

    Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
    And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.

    July 20, 2014

  • COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?

    Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
    I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.

    July 20, 2014

  • Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions

    This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
    The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    July 18, 2014

  • Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year

    It’s happening again.
    It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
    But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.

    July 17, 2014

  • County honors men who gave all in helping their community

    The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
    Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
    The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.

    July 16, 2014

  • State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less

    The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
    Let’s not do that again.

    July 15, 2014

  • Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past

    Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
    The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
    Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.

    July 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?

    I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
    “Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
    I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.

    July 13, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads