ONTARIO SCHOOL DISTRICT

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Technology

Whether students are learning about presidents of the past from a slide show on the computer or mastering computer skills with computer software programs, Ontario School District youth are incorporating technology into their school assignments. 

Deanne Carr,  TAG and media / technology support specialist at Aiken Elementary, is integrating regular classroom studies into computer activities, and Steve Bishop, media and technology support specialist at Alameda Elementary, is incorporating computer skills with fun, after-school activities. 

One of the classes at Aiken Elementary is studying President Lincoln, so Carr put together a show on the computer to go along with the lesson or book the students are using. Carr periodically asks teachers what the students are studying in class so she can incorporate the same materials into computer exercises. 

Other topics Carr has used are from books a class is currently studying, like the story of Ruby Bridges. Then, Carr creates a literary show on the computer to accompany the book's material. 

After Carr finds what subjects other teachers are studying, she does more research before designing a lesson on the computer. Teachers attending the computer lessons has made a difference for both the teachers and students. 

"When the teachers are present, it helps teach kids the (lessons on the computer and in the classroom) are not separate," Carr said. "Teachers are learning along with the kids." 

The computer reports Carr creates can be used by the students for research for their own projects. 

Carr also gives students the opportunity to earn an Internet Driver's License. Each student in both fifth-grades has his/her own book and must pass all assignments and an open-book test to pass. The reward is the Internet Driver's License, which deems them independent users and gives them special privileges, such as using the computer lab alone. 

Before they take the test, assignments teach students how to use the Internet properly and how to use it for research and collecting data. "No one didn't pass last year," Carr said, adding student's must get 100 percent of the answers correct to get their Internet Driver's Licenses, which contain each student's photograph. 

At Alameda Elementary, Bishop, has been facilitating after school computer activities for youth in grades two through five. The latest program was learning to use software called Kid Pix.' 

For the past two weeks, Bishop has had youth creating slide shows on the computer using Kid Pix to incorporate pictures taken with a digital camera with a recording of their own voices. 

The students made individual slides on the computer and compiled them to make a slide show or a short movie and saved their work on the network. 

"The kids gain more comfort using the machines," Bishop said, adding some have even learned to read using the computers. 

In learning how to use Kid Pix, the students are also learning how to use the tools in the tool bar of the program, how to color items with the color palette, how to type text on the screen and how to create a background on the screen. Lessons like these involved the first 312 hours of after school instruction with practice. 

Other activities in Kid Pix, besides the slide show format, includes learning how to make a moving picture, how to make objects move across the screen and how to make a puppet move by pressing keys on the keyboard. 

Bishop said Kid Pix can also be used for class presentations or reports because it has the capability of pulling up pictures and maps. 

Programs Bishop has held after school include software experts, where students picked a program they wanted to learn about and studied it; and publisher's club, where students learned how to put together a newspaper. 

The next course Bishop will be offering after school is technical helpers. Students will learn to properly clean screen and keyboards, unhook and hook up computer cables, loading basic programs and how to use the digital and video cameras. 

"The more technology we get into, the more we have to know and we just can't keep up," he said. "Kids pick it up faster anyway."

Alameda Elementary fourth grader receives some help with Kid Pix' by Steve Bishop, media and technology support specialist.