Digital age makes its way into McAllen Classrooms
In today's wolrd technology has become a staple for schools, just as important as reading, writing and arithmetic. Children live in a digital age where mobile devices are as necessary as groceries. A small but growing group of educators in the valley is trying to exploit twitter-like technology to enhance their classrooms. Technology is everywhere, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities, our homes. These days, it is also in our schools. A part of everyday learning in the classroom. McAllen Superintendent Dr. James Ponce says his district is doing something many across the nation have not done. The district secured mobile devicesfor all 25,000 of it's students. They're using ipads and tools like facetime to revolutionize the student teacher learning experience. Children as young as 5 years old are thriving and loving the idea. By January 2012 more than 5 thousand Ipad2's and more than 4 hundred Ipod touch devices will be in the hands of both teachers and students. It's an initiative Dr. Ponce says is already increasing student academic achievement and closing the gap for at-risk children. He says the move into the digital world will not only make the students more competitive, but also increase the value of the community of McAllen. Harlingen South High School Geometry and Digital Electronics teacher Brenda Amintrani uses social media to help her students excel inside and outside the classroom. How does she incorporate it? Amitrani has created a facebook and twitter page to communicate important classroom information, tutor, and encourage parent involvement. She also uses this smart pen that allows students to take the lecture home with them. Amitrani says while some people may not agree with these new teaching methods, students are embracing it. Skeptics fear introducing these tools into classrooms will distract students and teachers and lead to off-topic, innappropriate or even bullying remarks. Both Dr. Ponce and Mrs. Amitrani say precautionary measures are taken to make sure that does not happen. School administrators suggest setting up professional twitter and faebook pages. That way, all personal information is kept private, but students and parents still are involved in learning outside the classroom.
- Filed in