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New Technology Initiates Connections For Teachers and Students

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Students with laptops in Morristown(Morristown, VT) The growing prevalence of broadband Internet access and cloud computing has made itself well known across classrooms at People's Academy Middle Level, where students have recently been using tech tools to complement their Maple Leaf careers project, and are utilizing new online tools like the Edu 2.0 collaboration service. Internet use in these classrooms has been greatly improved by the e-Vermont initiative brought to Morristown. Also through the e-Vermont initiative, Digital Wish implemented 1:1 computing across the sixth grade with each student receiving a Dell Latitude 2120 netbook, which they used both in class and at home.

The Maple Leaf project is an existing career-based project at People’s Academy. The additon of the resources provided by e-Vermont has allowed students to research various career paths and professions using online resources such as Kids.gov and the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After finding a career that sparked their interest, students recorded notes and cited sources where appropriate using Microsoft OneNote, and utilized this information to create pamphlets with Microsoft Publisher that advertised and explained their chosen fields. These pamphlets explained what each profession entails, the kind of schooling required to enter the field, where it may be prevalent geographically, and the average salary range of people working in each field. Two striking sixth grade examples included one student’s interest in database management, and another's curiosity in theoretical physics. Later on for the Maple Leaf project, students will be paired with community partners in the Morristown area and learn about the various professions located here, then present their findings in a similar format.

The Edu 2.0 cloud computing service is an online classroom management tool that allowed teachers to post, share, and complete relevant class work online with their students during and after the school day. Sixth grade teacher Alyssa Krebs explains how every Thursday evening she posts a math word problem which the students then answer for homework that evening on their Edu 2.0 cloud. Students are also encouraged to comment on each other's responses to foster an online discussion of each week's assignment. Ms. Krebs elaborated on how this series of math assignments, which requires the students to answer with complete sentences, utilizes their language arts skills and has helped improve their grasp on math in the class. All of this helps to produce a greater level of engagement in the classroom during the school day. Additionally, the use of Edu 2.0, and greater access to the Internet and netbooks, has allowed her class (and the others) to complete presentation-based projects more efficiently. It has also inspired them to create a website for the sixth grade, giving students access to a web resource that connects them more completely to the other grades and their community at People's Academy.

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