The Littleton, NH school district recently received a school improvement grant that allowed the middle school to roll out an iPad cart, put interactive whiteboards in every classroom, purchase a shared videoconferencing unit and install a fiber optic network for Wi-Fi access.
project on influential historical figures.
“They’re using the app Explain Everything,” says Jeremy Brown, the Littleton district technology advisor and eighth grade history teacher. “It’s an in-class project. They had to explain what the world would be like if this person hadn’t achieved what they achieved.”
Explain Everything is an app that allows you to design, annotate and narrate a visual presentation. It’s similar to PowerPoint, but students don’t rely on text to share information. Their message is conveyed through pictures, drawings and voice narration. The end result is a short video.
Having these new tools has changed the classroom learning environment. The focus is now on creation, multimedia and collaboration, which are important skills for today’s workplace.
“They [students] have really enjoyed it and it’s been good in terms of what I’m seeing them produce,” says Brown.
The new iPads are just one piece of a larger renovation project that began two years ago in the district. The Daisy Bronson Middle School moved into the Littleton High School and is housed in a newly built addition. The middle school’s new home also came with new technology.
“Standard in every classroom we’ve got six computer workstations we run off of a thin client system
District technology advisor and history teacher Jeremy Brown talks about overcoming technology fears and how to get teachers to use new tech tools. We have a cart of netbooks that are shared, and access to laptop carts. Every class has a Promethean board,” says Brown. A Promethean board is an interactive white board.
The school uses ActivExpression clickers so teachers can poll the class during interactive quizzes. Students can also use the devices to answer questions from BrainPop. BrainPop is an educational site that provides videos, quizzes and interactive activities for K-12 classrooms. The school also has a mobile videoconferencing unit that teachers can use to bring in guest speakers.
“Later this year I’m going to try to use it to talk to the people on top of Mt. Washington,” says Brown.
As someone who is interested in technology, Brown has also incorporated a few other edtech