Blog

Beyond Pencils

Back to blog

What Can Tech Do for Your District?

December 04, 2015

What can tech do in your school? That’s the question that Jodi Alt and Leah Nelson, along with their fellow teachers at Huegel Elementary School in Madison, WI, have been answering this year. This is Madison’s first year of a one-to-one device program, and Alt, Nelson and the other tech-savvy teachers at Huegel have hit the ground running.

In Alt’s fifth-grade classroom, pop quizzes are greeted with excitement thanks to Kahoot, a game-based learning tool that looks a little like a game show. A big screen in Alt’s classroom displays multiple-choice questions, along with real-time information about how many students chose each answer - it’s a thrilling competition for the class, but also a stealthy way for Alt to understand what each student knows and what they may still need to work on. As she put it, “I can see how every student answered every question, so I know who understands a concept and who needs more help.”

Nelson, meanwhile, has been using iPads in her kindergarten classroom for three years already, thanks to a district grant.  She’s seen big changes in how much her students are learning, and how they’re behaving.  Not only have test scores for reading improved, but she also makes far fewer referrals to the principal’s office for behavioral problems. Research done by the Madison school district has found that technology helps students stay interested in class, behave better, and even be absent less often.

So what do the students think about these changes in their classrooms? To put it simply, they think it is awesome. Just ask Edie, one of Alt’s fifth-graders, who writes stories on a tablet at home and pointed out that it would be “sort of lame” not to have the same technology at school. By weaving these digital tools into the fabric of the school day, Alt, Nelson, and others are taking the tech that students already know and love - and using it to create real results.