Middle School Insider: Jump To The Future

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Typewriters to laptops, records to iPods, written letters to e-mail: Doesn’t technology make life so much easier? It’s crazy how much we rely on technology in our everyday lives. From when our alarm clock rings in the morning to wake us up, to watching TV before bed, we never stop using it. Whether we’re at school, at work, or at home, we are surrounded by new technology every day.

The exciting adventure of learning about the newest technology is not optional and it isn’t only through leisure and luxury. At school, our entire day is based around technology. For instance, in my science class to complete activities, we use an iPod Touch. Mandarin students use a Blackberry Smartphone to do interactive assignments. Our teachers also assign us projects on Glogster, which lets us create interactive posters on the computer that contain videos and other multimedia data. In fact, in some classes, all homework and assignments are done online! What a great way to save money, paper, and in turn the world!

While we can’t use our own mobile devices in school in Verona, we are fortunate enough to have a school budget that allows us to have two computer labs, along with a couple of computers in every classroom. Televisions are also provided for teachers and students, which help students further grasp concepts. Smart boards and projectors are also available in the school, which lets students complete interactive worksheets, interact with Web sites, and also complete special graphic organizers that are great for brainstorming. Not to mention, they are not nearly as messy as chalk. We use Web sites like Capzles.com to create timelines, which is a fantastic way to help students understand a sequence of events.

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In this generation of kids, it is unheard of to not understand how to use technology. Knowing and comprehending technology is even a requirement in order to proceed to the next grade! By grade 8, students must know how to use the design process to solve problems, be able to use digital tools to generate solutions and gather data, as well as understanding that the use of technology and digital tools requires appropriate use of operations and related applications. Through our technology education teacher, Mr. Green and our technology specialist, Mr. Kish, students are taught these important skills. In-school projects also help students learn new skills. It is also strongly encouraged by our superintendent and principal for teachers to incorporate technology into our everyday lessons. Technology plays a huge role in our everyday lives.

And not just in Verona. A recent survey on technology, the “3 E’s of Education“, demonstrated how times have changed:

  • 67% of U.S. parents said they would purchase a mobile device, such as a cell phone or iPod Touch, for their child to use for schoolwork if their school allowed it;
  • 61% of parents liked letting students use mobile devices to access online textbooks;
  • 62% of middle school students said that the number one way to make it easier to use technology would be to allow greater access to resources that Internet firewalls and school filters block.
  • 66% of parents agreed that online textbooks are a good investment to enhance student achievement. In a 2008 survey, only 21% of parents agreed.

Technology makes up a part of our life too large not to be able to understand. Technology surrounds us daily, and is only here to help us. So why not take advantage?

“Middle School Insider” is a column by Dominique Marino, who attends H.B. Whitehorne Middle School.

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