Teachers embracing technology boom in the classroom

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by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @MegCoyleKING

KING5.com

Posted on September 28, 2010 at 6:29 PM

BELLEVUE, Wash. - These days, most kids come armed with the latest technology. It can be hard to separate the student from the smart phone. So teachers are now trying to bring the two together.

Gone are the black boards. Today, it's all about smart boards and clickers, as they're called. That's what students use in Andy Colleran's integrated math class at Chinook Middle School in Bellevue.

"They're asked questions. Either put in a number or multiple choice and their answers are recorded on the computer," says Colleran.

Colleran is one of a growing number of teachers using these devices.

"It lets me focus in on the kids who need the most attention," he says.

With instant results, Colleran can see who gets equations and who doesn't. And for students, there's nowhere to hide. Colleran knows who's entered their answer and who hasn't as well as who got them right and who got them wrong, all in real-time.

"I don't waste time walking around looking for who that is. I just look at the computer and there's the answer. I go and I find that kid and I say, 'Hey you need some help with this' and that's where the learning occurs," says Colleran.

Students still work out problems the old fashioned way. But now teachers are trying to tap into what kids are into these days. And kids like Kyle Narbaitz are into technology.

"Yeah, I think it's pretty cool. It's pretty high-tech," says Kyle.

There are those who argue technology is making us dumber and more disengaged. But other experts say it's simply about finding the right balance.

University of Washington Professor Stephen Kerr teaches education majors how to teach technology in a way that benefits both students and teachers.

"An activity that looks and feels like a video game and gets them going with something that is really social and really competitive and interactive and so on. It can really make a difference," said Kerr.

Kerr says clickers are just the tip of the educational iceberg. Some UW students are working on incorporating math concepts into popular video games.

All this week, NBC is presenting a special series, "Education Nation," an examination of the nation's public schools. Click here for more information.

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