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Logan school board hears reports on classroom technology, ESL program

November 11th, 2009 Posted in Opinion

By Kelly Greenwood

LOGAN–Presentations on technology in classrooms, the ESL Discovery program and other matters were in full swing at the Logan district Board of Education meeting Tuesday night.

Instructional Technology Coordinator Mike Hansen began his presentation with a short film that emphasized the importance of technology in classrooms. Hansen showed the movie to emphasize that technology is an important teaching tool. Technology isn’t valid if it’s not helping in classrooms, Hansen said.

Hansen talked about the results of a district-wide teacher-student survey he helped conduct. He said when asked what they needed to make technology an integral part of the classroom, teachers said they would need more training time and help to make technology efficient. He said 80 of 100 teachers said access to an overhead projector and Microsoft Office 2007 are necessary teaching technologies for the classroom.

Hansen also mentioned teachers’ personal beliefs about technology. Some teachers said that they teach better with technology and that it gives them a better ability to teach, he said. He said he went to three elementary schools—Woodruff, Ellis and Wilson—to see how technology is being used.

“Smartboards have become very popular,” he said. “Teachers say, ‘if you take it out, I’m quitting.’”

Hansen also mentioned that schools in the district are currently
creating technology plans for how to implement technology in
classrooms. He also touched briefly on podcasts and showed one that a fourth-grade Hillcrest Elementary teacher had created for her students. Hansen said there are 45 math-themed podcasts that fourth-grade teachers across the
state can use. “Some great things are going on,” he said.

Logan High literacy coach Melanie Landon-Hayes gave a presentation about TEAL 1010, a concurrent enrollment class she and Dorothy Dobson, a USU education lecturer, have been teaching. The class, which had 35 students, was about teaching as a profession, Landon-Hayes said.

“It’s been a delight to teach,” she said, and mentioned that she hopes that the course will continue at Logan High. Students will present what they learned on Nov. 18 at the Edith Bowen
Lab School auditorium. She has arranged appointments for the students to meet with university advisors so they can plan for their future education.

Landon-Hayes said she recently took an informal poll of the students, and about 90 percent of them said they plan to teach in the future. She said she and Dobson have been amazed at the deep insights the high school students have had during the course. “It has been a positive connection with the university,” Landon-Hayes said.

Mount Logan Middle School teachers Bryce Passey, Eric Newell and Bonnie Judd presented the ESL Discovery program, which was designed with the idea to immerse kids in a language environment, Passey said.

Judd presented her experiences with the program with a slideshow. Judd said that though the kids are limited because of a lack of English proficiency, they have shown a lot of potential. “These kids are full of potential and have much to offer,” she said. “They are future leaders.”

Judd talked about various activities the students do and said that “self-expression soars” during these activities. She also read examples of the students’ writing.

“Wherever we go, we are writing,” she said.

The board also heard a presentation from Doug Kofford, a consultant with Verizon Communication, who discussed the proposed installation of a Verizon communication site at Logan High. Kofford passed around a handout depicting a photo simluation of what the site would look like installed on the Logan High football field. He said Verizon will pay the school $800 per month for the lease, which will last for 25 years. The site is scheduled for building in 2010, he said.

Kofford talked about schools in Bountiful, Salt Lake City and Ogden and how they have benefited from having communication sites.

Logan High Principal Patricia Hansen and instructor Paul Wagner
presented a proposal for out-of-state travel funds for the school debate team, which seeks to travel to Arizona for a competition. “They’re the easiest students to manage—it’s great,” Wagner said.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Hansen said.

The board gave a general, though not official, consensus that the funds would be approved and that Wagner could proceed with the ticket purchase.

Board members also discussed the new key control policy that is currently being drafted for a re-keying of the district’s buildings. Members discussed the draft and voiced concerns about access. They discussed that the goal behind the new policy is to help people understand the importance of security in schools.

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