Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

January 24, 2014

Laptops help engage BMS students


The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Batesville Middle School administrators, teachers and students are now in the second semester of the 1:1 computer initiative implementation, principal Dave Strouse points out.

Each student received an 11-inch MacBook Air laptop within the first few days of school. Technology department employees provided training to the students in the areas of general laptop use, digital citizenship and curriculum.

Videos were also created to demonstrate Internet safety; MacBook tools; and MyBigCampus, a Web-based learning management system that teachers and students use to communicate, deliver instruction, post assignments and turn in assignments.

Parents were able to pay for the laptops through their child’s annual book bill. He notes, “Parents did not see a substantial increase in their book bills for the laptops thanks to the Batesville Community Education Foundation grant of $37,500 over the next four years.”

The first semester experience has allowed students and staff to feel more comfortable and confident using the technology in the classroom. The principal believes, “Technology has become a tool enhancing teachers’ instruction to help engage students in a more powerful educational experience.”

Strouse reflects, “Today’s learners have grown up all of their lives in a digital world, and are sometimes referenced as ‘digital natives.’ They have cell phones, computers, video games, iPods, the Internet – and they have never seen a TV without a remote control. They think and process information fundamentally differently than their predecessors. Engaging these students and making education relevant to them is critical. Technology allows schools to prepare students for jobs that do not yet exist.”

BMS students in one semester have created Prezis (presentations using a cloud-based software and storytelling tool), started blogs, designed flip charts, produce videos and learned about cultures from around the world, all without leaving the classroom. The MBC technology has given students and teachers the ability to communicate throughout the day and after school hours.

Students can check their homework and agenda items, send a message to the teacher or even review a video shown in class.

Strouse reports, “Our 1:1 computer initiative was established to provide a school environment that fosters a student-centered approach that promotes differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each student. It is imperative to maintain the support from teachers, administrators, staff, students, parents and community, each contributing to the Batesville Community School Corp. mission: ‘To educate all students in a tradition of academic excellence, preparing them for productive and responsible citizenship in a global community.’”