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Students demonstrate the future of learning
[February 07, 2013]

Students demonstrate the future of learning

Feb 07, 2013 (The Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Several Onslow County Schools showcased innovative teaching techniques Wednesday as part of National Digital Learning Day.

The day was a valuable opportunity for Onslow County Schools to share the outstanding work being done in classrooms each and every day in all of the county's schools, said Lesley Eason, assistant superintendent for Instructional Services and Continuous Improvement.

"Technology has greatly expanded learning experiences and resources for our students," she said. "As a system, we are committed to highlighting innovative and creative practices; Digital Learning Day is a national forum to share the great work that our teachers and students are engaged in to best support a commitment to excellence in education." As part of Digital Learning Day, Northwoods Elementary School unveiled the district's first SMART Collaborative Classroom. Erika Watson's fourth-grade classroom, one of only 25 SMART Collaborative Classrooms in the U.S., will be a model of how technology can be used collaboratively to boost student achievement by increasing student-teacher interaction and giving students more hands-on opportunities, said Suzie Ulbrich, spokeswoman for Onslow County Schools.

Keith Holland, representing Camcor and SMART Technologies, went over some of the benefits of a Collaborative Classroom including student retention, higher-level thinking skills, oral communication skills and social interactions skills.

He said SMART technologies create an environment of active, exploratory learning; encourages student responsibility for learning; stimulates critical thinking; builds positive relationships as students often work in teams and help each other; and creates an atmosphere for students that resembles real-life social and employment situations in their futures.

Watson's collaborative classrooms have been equipped with many state-of-the-art technology solutions including multiple SMART Board interactive whiteboards with SMART Notebook collaborative learning software, the SMART Response interactive response system, SMART Document Cameras, the SMART audio classroom amplification system, SMART Bridgit Collaborative Conferencing software, and SMART Sync classroom management software.

"Ms. Watson was selected for the project because of her innovative use of technology in the classroom and her vision for how technology can truly transform education," Holland said. "The flexible classroom spaces multiple SMART Boards can offer promotes student-centered learning, small group interactive lessons and together with Northwoods 1-1 initiative, individual learning." Beginning in July, Northwoods Elementary School will convert to Northwoods Elementary Year-Round Magnet School of Technology and Innovation.

The magnet school will focus its instruction on technology and innovation incorporating project-based learning strategies. Every student will be assigned either a netbook or laptop computer to be used for instruction both in and out of the classroom, school officials said.

Everyone at Richlands Elementary School participated in Digital Learning Day.

Third-grade teacher Shea Reyer and her students spent time outside working together with several handheld GPS units to learn how a space-based satellite navigation system work.

Tiffany Rysewyk, a third-grade teacher, used technology for every subject. On Digital Learning Day she combined social studies, science and language arts. The students will be publishing a book and were doing background research with partners.

"Then they will take their seats and will do independent proof that they learned from technology today," she said.

Students Aiden Guisao and Thomas Hanes were learning about fiction versus nonfiction. Hanes said he "likes using computers because there are so many choices, not just one -- and you get to play games and learn on the games too." Guisao said he liked technology and found it more fun to use a computer than read a book.

Digital Learning Day, headed by former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise and the Alliance for Education, is a national celebration to spotlight successful instructional practice and effective use of technology in classrooms across the country.

More than 2 million students, 20,000 teachers, 25 national member organizations and 39 states and the District of Columbia joined Wise via webcast to participate in Digital Learning Day 2013.

Contact Daily News Senior Reporter Lindell Kay at 910-219-8455 or Follow him on Twitter and friend him on Facebook @ 1lindell.

___ (c)2013 The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.) Visit The Daily News (Jacksonville, N.C.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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