CK students prove to be technology savvy

CKHS seniors Carlo Itchon and Meghann Kennedy watch the computer graph results as Probeware transmits results for a energy, momentum and impulse lab they’re working on. - Photo by Erin Beil
CKHS seniors Carlo Itchon and Meghann Kennedy watch the computer graph results as Probeware transmits results for a energy, momentum and impulse lab they’re working on.
— image credit: Photo by Erin Beil

For students in the Central Kitsap School District, technology is no longer confined to classroom TVs and VCRs, computer labs and overhead projectors — it is now a culture of advanced learning.

What once was a world of chalk and blackboards has now progressed into digital images of textbooks and student work displayed on a screen for the entire class to see. Technology, such as the document camera, is found in many high school and junior high classrooms across the district. Teachers can place a quiz under the device for students to fill out in front of their classmates, display corrections to a student’s in-class writing prompt just after it’s completed and place student graphing calculators under the camera individually or side-by-side to highlight equations.

“It’s nice, we can put calculators under (the document camera) and kids can type on them or put calculators side-by-side (for the class to see),” said Central Kitsap High School (CKHS) math teacher Kasey Lupton. “So much of the stuff we do is group work. These guys just bring their binder paper and stick it under (the document camera).”

David Guertin, CKSD coordinator of instructional technology, said the CKHS alumni donations made purchasing document cameras for various classrooms at CKHS possible. The goal is to have each classroom that wants a document camera to be equipped with one.

In addition to math courses, the technology of document cameras along with Airliner interactive mouse pads can be found in science classrooms across the district as well. At CKHS, students in the physics and chemistry classes are using the technology of Probeware, an interactive computer system that measures the outcome of various scientific experiments. The computers interfaced with Probeware are used as laboratory instruments to collect and manage data.

“I think it’s always best to do hands on, but this tool is nice to get the flavor for the class in an effective manner,” said CKHS Advanced Placement (AP) science teacher Paul Birkenfeld. “They’re constructing that knowledge, that’s what they’re doing in the classroom.”

During a demonstration of the Probeware technology, students had the computer collect data regarding the tension of a string connected to a car speaker as various rhythms were increased and decreased. Probeware contains probes and sensors that measure elements such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pressure and pH.

“With physics, I don’t know how we’d do (experiments) without Probeware,” Birkenfeld said.”

Along with the graphs and results from the various experiments, students in the AP science classes interpret their data using Microsoft Excel and Word to create college-level lab notes, he added.

“It’s really accurate,” said CKHS AP senior Meghann Kennedy. “You have to use college formulas so you know what’s expected of you. It’s a great preparation even if you can’t use the (AP) credit.”

David Pevovar, CKHS AP science teacher, said he has noticed the AP science program has gotten more students than ever before, and ordered nearly 120 AP exams earlier this spring for students to receive college credit.

“It is a culture thing,” Pevovar added. “They come back (to high school) and have the study skills (they need for college), that’s the biggest advantage that kids have.”

Although students at the high school level are benefitting from technology advancements, students from Klahowya Secondary School (KSS) are not being left out. As well as having document cameras in their classrooms, KSS offers advanced technology classes, such as digital photography, to help students prepare for jobs after high school or college. KSS graphics teacher Gordon Little teaches the digital photography classes, highlighting Adobe Photoshop and the basics to taking quality photos.

“We do a lot of work in Photoshop,” Little added. “Where we used to be in the darkroom, now we do in Photoshop. We can do so much more, faster.”

Teaching photo tricks such as adding spot color, Sepia tone, de-saturation and manipulation, Little’s class helps students learn technology used in many professions.

“I love photography, this is my favorite class,” said KSS freshman Jennifer Beasley. “I will pursue it in the future.”

All of Little’s coursework is on an online program called Moodle, giving students all-access to tests and assignments.

“(Students) have online learning, much like they would in college,” Little said.

At Fairview Junior High School (FJH), students are using the technology of the Internet to research for various projects and to create fool-proof bibliographies. Teaching a seventh-grade language arts and geography honors class, Kay Moon said she often has her students in the computer lab using online encyclopedias and library resources to research project topics.

“I like the discoveries ... (students) come up with facts that are interesting to them,” Moon added. “The first time they study the world is in the seventh grade.”

Along with online research, students must complete a bibliography of all their resources, a typically harrowing task until now. Taught in the library, students can now log onto a Web site titled “Easy Bib,” and enter in the information of their source into the various menus of the site and the computer does all the work creating the correct citation in Modern Language Association (MLA) format. The program will provide citations for any source, including photographs.

“Before, it was too complicated,” said Julie Gillies, a teacher at FJH. “Now kids are entering their resources and being more responsible with their information.”

Although technology in the high schools and junior highs is advanced, elementary schools across the district are keeping up. At Woodlands Elementary School, students put on a morning news show that starts promptly at 9:10 a.m. Monday-Friday, and is broadcasted onto the individual classroom TVs.

The broadcast program training, featuring two or three students at a time, is open to fifth- and sixth-graders who wish to appear on the news. The training involves the setup and breakdown of the equipment as well as on-screen practice readings. The daily news show broadcasts the announcements for the school, including what the day’s lunch options.

“They practice so there isn’t any dead time (before and after filming),” said Jeff Sullivan, Woodlands teacher and broadcast coordinator. “Between the three of them (students), there’s a lot of coordination.”

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