BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Students who attend schools in the Blytheville Public Schools district are trading in their chalkboards, and papers and pencils for 21st century learning.
Blytheville Public School director of technology Kris Williams said due to an $8 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, all seven of the schools in the district have implemented high tech changes in the way their students learn.
"Our primary function right now is making sure those items are used everyday throughout the curriculum by the teachers."
Williams said the new technology such as smartboards instead of chalkboards and students using netbooks instead of desktops are more cost effective than some traditional teaching methods. "We can buy almost three full carts (of netbooks) versus one desktop computer lab."
Blytheville Kindergarten Center principal Gregg Yarbrough said his students are excited to learn the basics of reading, writing and technology. "I think it's actually more exciting because we can put in different colors and different shapes. It's just much more exciting when they have a visual. They're used to the visual technology now-a-days."
Third to twelfth grade students in the district use netbooks in class instead of going to computer labs. The entire district has implemented electronic quizzes that enable teachers to evaluate learning instantly. "Instead of having to grade the quizzes at a different time and get it back to the students they have immediate feedback to find out what those students are learning in class," said Williams.
Even with all the changes, Williams said the district is not done upgrading. "We're thinking about implementing on pilot basis at the high school level, several classes later this semester to allow them to bring their own devices," he said.
"If they have an iPad or a smart phone or personal laptop or netbook, we'll allow them to bring those into the classes, and as long as they're using them correctly, we think that it will be a great approach"