The Oktibbeha County School District is helping students succeed with the help of a technology grant.
Thanks to the E2T2 (Enhancing Education Through Technology) grant East Oktibbeha County High School received for the first time last year, they were able to purchase 24 lap tops, one Smart Board, 15 new desk-top computers and smart response units for all subject area classes.
Technology Facilitator Fransen Isaac and computer teacher Tonneche Brown reapplied for the grant and again received it for the 2010–2011 school year.
With the second installment of the grant, EOCHS was able to purchase eight additional Smart Boards, eight smart response units, two digital microscopes and 60 graphing calculators for the start of the school year. Each of the teachers were also given their own lap tops for Smart Board lessons.
“With the grant, teachers are going to be able to keep up with students,” Isaac said. “Coming into school, we have to adapt to their needs, and this new technology will help facilitate that... And we’re preparing them for college and the work force.”
In Brown’s business and computer class, each student is equipped with a lap top at their desk. The majority of assignments are developed with the help of the computers, and Brown has initiated new assignments to encourage frequent use of the computers.
The students have started a blogging program called Schoolology that allows students to journal about topics that interest them. Then classmates respond to the blogs and form a dialogue all electronically.
“It helps them with their English and creative writing because I don’t allow them to use that text slang they use when they usually talk with each other,” Brown said.
“It’s bringing an awareness to the students, and it’s making them want to know more,” Isaac said. “When they have access to the technology, they want to do more, and their motivation has increased.”
Though technology can make seasoned teachers a little apprehensive, Isaac is pleased with her fellow teachers’ progress during professional development that helps educate teachers on how best to use the new technology.
“It’s easier once you get it implemented and get over the fear of teaching outside the box,” Isaac said. “I’m seeing (the teachers’) enthusiasm to get into the classroom and use the new technology.”
But even more exciting to Brown and Isaac is the enthusiasm they are seeing in the students when it comes to their school work.
“We’re giving our students the same advantages and same jump start on life as other schools in our state,” Brown said.