#21 Mar 27, 2007
People may not agree with how every dollar of the bond is spent. A person doesn't have to agree with how every $ is spent to agree some of these things are really necessary some maybe aren't. I volunteer at a couple of the schools on at least on a weekly basis. I wonder if you could say the same. I do live in Okemos (since 1994) even though my ISL says Lansing.
I just spent 1 and 1/2 hours at CMS (as a volunteer). The room we used (definitely not a computer lab) had cables and wires running into numerous plug strips from the backs of a couple of computers all going into one outlet next to the heating unit. We had a hard time just finding one working stapler than could handle the size of a newsletter.
Okemos isn't just the wealthy community you think it is, although I agree some of it is. Some of our students are recent refugees. Many are just learning English. If you read the parent council group meeting minutes for CMS you will read that the financial needs assistance for CMS students has increased from $1000 to $5000 this year. We need to keep up with all the changes in the world today and provide an up-to-date education for all.
#22 Mar 27, 2007
I am in complete disagreement with Gary's premise that technology in the classroom is an unnecessary "frill".
How does one define "need"? Should we go back to slate chalkboards? What about books? Do we really "need" those, or could lessons be taught orally. What about carpeting on the floors- wouldn't plain old cement work fine? What about lights? Well, certainly a plain lightbulb puts out more lumens as those adorned in fixtures. Are these "frills"? Or are they "needs"?
Personally, I'd rather have a PDA or laptop in our kids hands than carpeting on the floor.
The research shows that technology tools HELP KIDS LEARN BETTER. These tools make their lessons easier to see, easier to hear, help students become more engaged in their lessons and retain the information longer (so called "deep learning"). Technology helps kids with special needs, and helps teachers use differentiation to meet different learning needs. It promotes independent learning. It saves time for teachers, allowing them to spend more time with the students (instead of making vellums, or fighting with the broken network).
Technology is simply the key to the future: for our kids, school district, community, and really, for our state. Unless we provide our schools with the most effective teaching tools, we will fall behind.
Also, Okemos is not unique in realizing the critical need for educational technology. Out of the 26 school districts in Michigan with bond proposals on the ballot for the May 8th election, 23 are asking for educational technology!
#23 Mar 28, 2007
An example of how technology "HELPS" kids learn. A Kindergarten teacher recently told me she really would find a document image camera a tremendous help. This confused me (as I was seeing this tool as more beneficial for the older grades) until she explained how...
Imagine having a class of 17 students, many who don't know how to properly hold a pencil, some who don't know the letters of the alphabet, some who barely speak english...(this is why I'm not a teacher!).
Now try to teach them to write the letter "A".
With an overhead projector, the lights are turned off. Hopefully, this wasn't a prior naptime for the 5 year olds, because it could turn into it again. The droning hum of the projector fan partially drowns out the teachers voice, and the kids are confused because the projected shadow of their teachers hand blocks the letter formation as she is writing it. Where do they put their pencil to begin? Their table is too dark, so they can't really see to follow along on their worksheet.
It is not much better to deomonstrate using a white board. The kids won't really learn how to properly "hold" the pencil using a whiteboard (because writing on a vertical wall with a thick marker just is not the same).
Kids who aren't sitting up close won't be able to see, nor will those who are being blocked by the teacher's body. The kids are supposed to copy the teacher's method on their worksheet. But many don't quite get it, and aren't sure where to start, so they just sit there.
So, after the demonstration, the teacher has to go around the entire classroom and show each child individually- a very time-consuming process.
With document image presenter, the teacher's hand motion as she forms the letter on the worksheet are projected in full bright color onto a wall-sized screen. The projector videorecords her motion, as she fills in the same worksheet that the kids are using. No confusion. Everyone can see. Nothing is blocked. The letter demonstration can be set to replay repeatedly so that everyone has a chance to see it several times, and in the meanwhile, the teacher can be circulating through the room to ensure that everyone has understood, and can give individual instruction to those who are still struggling. Or, if there are no problems, the teacher can move on to the letter B.
Instructional technology WILL help our kids learn. With the current budget outlook for our state, education cuts will continue, and class sizes likely will grow.
Kids in Okemos (and around the state!) will need the most effective teaching tools possible as their class sizes increase.
#24 Apr 13, 2007
The proposed bond is for slightly less money than the one last year, but it's essentially the same because some equipment that was budgeted in that proposal has been purchased, so the bond amount has been reduced. Last year's bond failed by a realatively small margin. The pro-bond group, Okemos Citizens Millage Committee is on an all-out campaign, including mass mailings, to ensure that this one passes. The reasons to support or oppose this bond haven't changed.
If you are interested in learning why a so many people (a majority in the last election) oppose the bond, check out:
#25 Apr 18, 2007
Do you use technology in your business place???
We are preparing our children for the future. Listen to all the ads on televsion these days, listen to our own business leaders - knowledge of technology is a must. And, I am sure you can find more than one student who visits the OHS library before, after and during lunch hours working on the computers because, yes, they do not have access at home.
Please vote "YES" - If you need more information come to the many meetings to discuss the bond.
#26 May 4, 2007
If you need a reason to vote "yes"--read the endorsement from the Lansing State Journal May 4th. They changed their opinion from last year and encourage everyone to vote "yes" this year. Vote YES!
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