Tech in the classroom | News, Sports, Jobs

Photos by Deb Gau
Members of the Marshall School Board used their laptops to enter quiz answers during an interactive presentation on Monday evening. Below, Southview Elementary teacher Bennett Appel talks to school board members about how he uses classroom technology.

MARSHALL — Online technology has become a common part of Marshall students’ school days. On Monday, it was the school board’s turn to use the Kahoot! learning game app, as members guessed at some of the results of Marshall Public Schools’ annual technology survey.

“Our teachers use this a lot,” said MPS digital learning coach Karen Londgren as she administered the quiz. “Kahoot! scores you on speed and accuracy.”

School board members got an update on technology in the school district as well as demonstrations of how some of it works. Members of the MPS technology department said they surveyed teachers and students in grades 3-12 to learn how they’re using technology in the classroom, and what other support they need.

Londgren said 66% of MPS teachers surveyed ask students to use devices like laptops every day. More than 80% of students in grades 3-12 used school-issued devices to complete classwork. However, students in grades 3 and 4 were also completing assignments on paper more often than older students, she said.

Around 75% of teachers surveyed were using a learning management system like Teams or Schoology every day. Other common uses of technology at MPS included digital textbooks, Londgren said.

Londgren said one issue the technology department is seeing is that ninth-graders who come to Marshall High School from private schools or other school districts tend to struggle with getting used to MPS’s devices and learning systems.

Londgren said she’s going to be helping with that problem before the start of school this fall.

“I’m going to do a technology orientation in August,” she said. The orientation will help incoming MHS students get set up on their school-issued laptops and other systems. “I’m really excited about that.”

Last fall, the new Southview Elementary opened with plenty of new technology, like large interactive screens in classrooms. Fourth-grade teacher Bennett Appel gave school board members a demonstration of how he uses the screens with his class.

“To me, this technology is fantastic,” Appel said. The classroom tech includes a whiteboard feature that’s easy for kids to use, and Appel can also easily save documents and screenshots from lessons.

Appel said it’s also possible for him to give a substitute teacher access to his learning materials if he can’t be in class.

“It’s nice that I don’t have to leave my computer in the school,” he said.

The interactive screens are easier to use than a SMART board in a few ways, Appel said. There are no projectors involved, so he can move around the classroom without blocking the display.

“I don’t have to dim the lights or anything,” Appel said.

The screens are also paired up with an audio enhancement system in each class, which is helpful for students who might be hard of hearing.

“It’s very nice to have that in the classroom,” he said.

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