Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Paperless Classroom Update

Here is a sample of the press release we recently released for our district regarding the Paperless Classroom project:

Paperless Classroom a Success at Calvert City Elementary

When Mrs. Amanda Mott’s students walked into their classroom the first day of school they all thought they were in the computer lab, not their regular classroom. “Wow, we all have our own computer!”, exclaimed one student.

Mrs. Amanda Mott and her fourth grade students are embarking on a new way of learning this school year – a paperless classroom. Each of her 26 students has their own computer at their desk and a majority of their assignments are online. The classroom also has a projector, airliner and laser printer. The technology that made the paperless classroom so affordable is a device made by nComputing, the X300. The X300 allows up to 6 other “virtual computers” to join a host computer, thus providing a total of 7 computers for approximately the price of 4 computers.

Mrs. Mott was able to successfully launch this project with the help of area businesses. Evonik Degussa Corporation, Dr. Barry Wilson, ISP, Regions Bank, Army Reserve and Lubrizol are all area businesses who contributed to this project with donations.

When asked how this new environment affected her classroom Mrs. Mott responded, “Technology shifts the teacher’s role to that of a student-centered facilitator. The students are taking on more of the responsibility of learning, and I lecture less and aid them in finding answers instead. The information they learn instantly becomes more meaningful because they have taken part in discovering it. Have technology in a classroom is becoming a necessity. Using the computers will help them build a strong intellectual foundation and encourage higher order thinking skills, creativity and self-driven research. Students are able to publish writing in more interesting ways. We can turn writing pieces into PowerPoint and Podcasts. They get authentic reasons to write in blogs, e-mails and wikis.”

Student Sarah Knoth said, “I enjoy getting to talk to other students using ePals. Right now we are talking to other students in our class, but very soon we will be talking with students in Spain.”

One of the classroom projects Mrs. Mott’s students will be embarking on is a collaborative effort to study with students in a classroom in Spain. Mrs. Mott’s students will use the educational site, ePals, to correspond, share ideas and assignments with the Spanish class.

Student Will McGee stated, “We are using the computers to learn a new language (Spanish), so we can communicate with our new friends in Spain.”

The students have utilized an online tool through the McCracken County Public library, known as Mango, which allows them to learn Spanish. Mrs. Mott felt it would beneficial for her students to be exposed to some key Spanish words and terminology before they begin their collaboration efforts.

When Mrs. Mott was asked what inspired her to come up with the paperless classroom concept and how did she think it would have an impact on student learning, she said, “The project began last year at the Kentucky Teaching and Learning Conference. I found the nComputing company and was intrigued by their product and began researching paperless classrooms across the country. Since Day 1 of this school year, my students have been actively engaged and seem to have a new purpose and love for learning. They are able to receive immediate feedback on various activities that sometimes would take days.”

Mrs. Amanda Mott and her fourth grade students are innovators for taking learning to new level. Her students will have the opportunity to share, communicate, collaborate and problem solve in an environment not available to all students. Thanks to Mrs. Mott, these students will become digital learners.

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