Technology is changing as quickly as one can fathom. It seems that almost on a daily basis, what was once standard is now obsolete. Imagine trying to prepare the next generation for the “real world” when your own tech isn’t up to current standards. This was the challenge that Walt Disney Elementary’s Kindergarten teachers had faced until recently.
“One of our District school improvement goals is to improve and enhance District technology,” said Disney Principal Sarah Dunham. “Mr. Edgar [Marceline R-5 Superintendent Gabe Edgar] set money aside in the budget for these upgrades. Kindergarten classrooms were the only rooms in the building without a Smartboard or Promethean Board. In our advanced technology world there are so many programs available on the web for teacher’s to integrate into daily instruction that correlate to our grade-level standards.”
This impetus on technology has fueled these upgrades. Even for the Kindergartners, who are just starting their educational journey, technology plays an important part in their eventual success in academics.
“The driving force behind the initiative is to continue our focus on language arts and math,” said Dunham. “The added technology provides a whole new perspective on classroom instruction. Classroom teachers can instantly provide a visual image for student, phonics programs are interactive for students, and math manipulatives can be easily maneuvered on the screen. It makes learning exciting for the students as well as the teachers.”
For the three Walt Disney Elementary Kindergarten teachers, this new technology is already making their children’s educational experiences better. “Having the smart boards brings thousands of resources to my classroom for all the students to use at once,” said Chasity Barnett. “We can read books, use giant math manipulatives, and add audio to many of the lessons. This is not possible when you only have two student computers in the classroom.”
Tina Ayers likes how the new technology replaces the outdated tech the teachers had been using. “The Promethean Board eliminates other outdated machines in my classroom,” said Ayers. “I no longer need an overhead projector to do PALs; my Promethean Board does that. I no longer need a television or a stereo, the board is capable of both. I can access music and children’s sites geared to assist our students in learning specific skills.”
For Jill Gordon, the extra engagement that the young students find in the technology is extremely exciting and helpful. “The ability to display a lesson that the students can not only see much bolder, but also the capability to manipulate, allows me to make each lesson more interactive and fun for the kindergarten students,” said Gordron. “With a smartboard, everything is available at the click of a button. We live in such a technology-driven world that these children are so familiar with Ipads, texting, video streaming, etc. that the white board and black marker are no longer stimulating enough. Through the use of my smartboard, I can use interactive media, that not only engages the children in what we are learning, but makes a lasting impression.”