Parents, some quick words of advice: The next time you need some computer help, ask your kids, especially if your child goes to La Verne’s Grace Miller Elementary School.
But then you probably already knew that!
On Thursday night in the school’s cafeteria, about 30 members of the La Verne Tech Club showcased their talents before proud parents and amazed administrators. In the popcorn-perfumed room (it’s a cafeteria, after all) kids at each station demonstrated their software programs and actually put some of their visitors to the test, probing their math and language skills.
It was like the annual Las Vegas electronics trade show, only on a smaller scale.
Most impressive was a large interactive board that Victoria Cavallero and Tech Club President Ashlynne Pearce demonstrated with their magic pens. Grace Miller teachers have smaller versions of these interactive student response systems, known as “Active Expressions,” in their classrooms.
Tech Club adviser Matt Miller shared how the system worked. Using a document imaging camera, he can post the lesson material on the big screen and then call on his students electronically to respond to a particular question. Instantly, he can see the students answers and, more important, gauge their comprehension.
The response system accomplishes a couple of things. First, Miller can see which students are answering questions correctly or incorrectly. If the majority of answers show they understand the material, he can move on to teach new subject matter. If their answers fall short, he can re-teach the material.
Second, because the answers are anonymous and electronically keyed in, students no longer have to risk embarrassment of raising their hand and volunteering a wrong answer. Also, faster learners can’t dominate the classroom thrusting their hand up, always trying to be the first in the room to answer a question.
The downside is your child never has to raise his or her hand again. (How lazy are our kids becoming? Just kidding.)
The whole evening was a little intimidating, especially for anybody over 50. I mean, first graders producing slick PowerPoint presentations? What’s the world coming to?
Well, we all got a first-hand glimpse of exactly what that world looked like, and it was indeed impressive.