Perdido Middle School students receive MacBook AirsPublished 12:11am Saturday, September 7, 2013
The technology plan for Baldwin County schools calls for the integration of technology in education, according to Perdido Elementary/Middle School teacher Gerri McDonald. McDonald said technology is not an end unto itself, but a means for better teaching and learning.
McDonald said, by the second day of school, Perdido students were given their MacBook Air devices, which they will use for much more than simple Internet research. All of their classes have digital copies of textbooks, with hardback copies still available in the classrooms. Special backpacks, with photo identification, were also given to each student to make carrying and keeping the laptops safe and easy.
McDonald said the vision of the educational community in the Baldwin County School District is to make technology equitable, while providing challenging and stimulating learning opportunities for students.
“When teachers and students are engaged in inquiry-based learning, which is supported by the most current technology tools and applications, everyone will be equipped with the knowledge and skills essential for success in 21st century life and work,” McDonald said.
“Perdido Elementary/Middle School has been the grateful recipient of several grants from the Poarch Creek Tribe, which has helped prepare students for this technology long before they are in seventh grade. Funds were used to purchase a cart with 20 MacBooks, which was originally used in middle school, and have now been moved down to fifth and sixth grades. In addition, all three fourth grade teachers have been trained in ‘eMints,’ a program, in which teachers learn new ways to create assessment tools and align unit and lesson plans with state and national standards.”
McDonald said the technology is meant to enhance students’ higher-order thinking skills with technology tools and resources incorporated into the existing curriculum. Each of these classes received 10 MacBooks for students, as well as one for the teacher. This year, the three third grade teachers are beginning the ‘eMints’ training process, and will receive their laptops sometime after Christmas.
In addition to individual classrooms, the library at Perdido Elementary/Middle School, through grant awards provided by Southern Pine and Perdido School PTO, has been preparing students in technology readiness by using NEO 2 laptops and NOOK Simple Touch readers and tablets. McDonald said, through day-to-day instructional programming, as well as in the annual “Battle of the Books” competition for north Baldwin County, Perdido students are immersed in technology.
She added that the Instructional Technology Department’s goal is to empower teachers to use technology to enrich and accelerate the learning process in the classroom; to expand the learning environment beyond the school building and beyond the normal school day; and to improve communication with parents, students and other teachers.