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January 21, 2013

Chickasha Implements Tech in the Classroom-and Stirs Up Debate

By Jody Ray Bennett, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Chickasha High School is starting to phase in higher technology for its classes, with the old methods of Xeroxed worksheets and thick, heavy textbooks falling in favor of PowerPoint and computer-aided teaching tools such as tablets and educational apps. Technology is such a pervasive part of everyday life and it's impossible for schools not to begin to utilize technology in the classroom, especially when it comes to teaching technological skills to students.

Dr. Don Wilson, Educational Technology Coordinator at Canadian Valley Technology Center, said in a recent article that the “Canadian Valley Professional Development Network is working with schools in the region to meet those specific needs.” Instead of focusing on specific solutions, the network helps pinpoint areas where schools need improvement and aids them in instituting technology.

Chickasha Public School Director of Finance, Dwight Yokum plans to do just that, having the district pay to have their teachers sent to Wilson to learn about integrating technology into the classroom. The science department at Chickasha High School already uses SMART boards for classroom instruction, and the department head says that laptops and notebooks are used in science classes.

Technology in the classroom can sometimes have bad side effects. Studies produced by analytics company, MetaMetrics have shown that Millenials are not as prepared for post-secondary work as students from previous generations where technology was not as pervasive.Dr. Wilson cautions that technology is now a means to an end. It's a tool, and it must be integrated into the classroom along with good teaching methodology. He also suggests new ways to teach students the process rather than product, allowing them to think through how to best utilize technology.

Common Core standards, a system of checkpoints and measurements to assess student progress and provide a road map of student needs, is a suggestion by some for a means to balance technology and instruction, allowing students to reach an equilibrium in learning so everyone's engaged.

Technology is going nowhere. Its integration in schools is too firmly woven. The key is finding the best use of technology to make a friendly, educational environment.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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