The Washington County Riverboat awarded the Washington Community School District a $40,000 grant for Media Enabled Classrooms during the Fall of 2008. The grant funds were just enough to install about 10 rooms, but the district was able to add additional funding to equip 14 classrooms at Lincoln Elementary School and 11 classrooms at Stewart Elementary School.
These classrooms are equipped with a ceiling mounted Epson video projector with a 100” screen, ceiling mounted Atlas speakers, and a wall mounted cabinet that has a Crown audio amplifier and DVD/VCR combo with digital tuner. There are 2 ports for teachers to plug-in a computer with audio or other device such as a document camera. The grant also purchased 7 Avervision document cameras to be shared throughout the school. This setup allows teachers to easily integrate audio, video, and computer based digital resources into the classroom. Since the equipment is permanently installed, there are no cords to trip over and the setup time is greatly reduced. These classrooms are able to keep students engaged in learning through multiple subject areas.
Please read the testimonials below from teachers at Stewart and Lincoln Elementary.
The $40,000 grant was awarded in the Fall of 2008 and bids were awarded in March of 2009. Installation started in March and the final room was completed in June. Many of the rooms were usable before the end of the school year! The total cost of the project was $119,430.03.
The technology in my classroom has definitely enhanced my teaching and improved what and how my students learn! I teach 6th grade science using hands-on, or inquiry-based methods. The students act as if they were scientists in the "real" world daily - setting up investigations, collecting and recording data, sharing data and findings with partners and other groups, and presenting their final findings to the class. We use the ELMO document camera connected to the LCD projector daily for so many of these activities. For example, as a group records data, we can easily use the ELMO and LCD to show their findings to the class so we can analyze it together. Without this technology available, I would have to wait until the next day when the aide could make a transparency for us to use on the overhead projector. It would be too expensive to make overheads for each group in each class on a frequent basis, and they would not be in color. We would also lose that "Aha" moment - when students often come to realize just what it is they are learning.
One of the greatest aspects of how my room is set up is that the LCD is in the ceiling. This allows the presenters to present from the side of the room, instead of being in the middle of the classroom blocking the viewer’s ability to see. The LCD is also connected to a media system consisting of a TV, VCR, and DVD player. Having the ability to easily connect my computer to this system to show PowerPoints, video clips or articles off the Internet, etc. has been a wonderful way to reach even more students-- and for them to demonstrate their learning.
Our students have different learning styles and strengths. Some learn better by listening, others by reading/viewing, and others by doing. Having the technology I have in my classroom has definitely helped more of my students become successful learners. It has truly been rewarding on my part to see the excitement in my student's faces as we learn together!
Grade 6 Teacher
My students and I have benefited greatly from the use of a LCD projector, document camera, and the ability to plug my computer into the wall and use it with the LCD. I can take student work and put it directly on the document camera for the class to view.
This is an excellent teaching tool for the students to see authentic work right away. When we were studying hurricanes, I could connect my computer to the wall and show video clips of the current hurricane over the LCD on the big screen. It has been a wonderful addition to my educational tools and I hope these tools can be available to more teachers and students.
5th grade science teacher
I am the K-3 Music Teacher at Stewart Elementary School, in Washington, Iowa. I recently had a new room built for my classes. One of the best features of the room is that it is equipped with a projection system with a large screen for instruction. My students love that I am able to project videos, DVD’s, or media from my computer onto the large screen so that all are able to see it from wherever they are seated in the room. I also have in-ceiling speakers, which are wonderful. All of my students are able to hear from wherever they are seated in the room as well.
I have new textbooks in my classroom and there are features of this textbook series where I can project part of a song onto the screen so that the students are able to isolate just one phrase or measure or rhythm in their books. I am looking forward to obtaining this technology soon. Most recently, I was teaching a lesson on the dancing group, Tap Dogs. I was able to pull up their site on my computer and show the students the video and photographs from their site. The students were also able to take that information home and look up the site on their own computers. I use this technology on a daily basis.
Before I had this technology in my classroom, I had a television on a cart with a pretty small screen. It was difficult for all the students to see it and they would always want to sit in the front row to see. It was also not compatible with my computer. I think the large screen and surround sound are much more appealing to my students and it helps all to focus and pay attention to what I am trying to teach. I really appreciate having this technology in my classroom.
Stewart Elementary School
Having the advanced audio/visual equipment available in the classroom is wonderful. All students can see and all students can hear without a blaring volume. The speakers are in the tiles above the student's heads so the amount of volume even in our large rooms is very minimal. The sound is also clear and I think everyone has a chance to catch what is being said.
The large screen can be seen from anywhere in the room and when a student cannot see clearly, all I have to do is say “move your chair a little to the left or right". The equipment is so good that even when another class visits, all the students see and hear comfortably. In fact, sometimes classes join us because of this!
I have also been able to teach (and entertain) students with the computer hook up. The first thing I showed was the school district video as some of the students were featured! Any time I wanted to demonstrate how a game was played at an Internet site, I could also use the large screen and all students could get the demo at once. If I was using the various silly photo shop looks, all the students could giggle at each other and we could print one as a great story starter.
Early elementary uses books called Living Books- the words can be read to the young student while they are highlighted in the print. These worked well on the computer hook up as did the Internet sites with similar reading set ups. During Kindergarten Round up, the teachers were able to have the kindergarten expectations on the large screen for parents to read and a short video of a kindergartener's day is in the works. This certainly beats expectations on a dimly lit overhead.
Having equipment of this quality makes a teacher feel that they have moved into the new century and gives teachers and community members a chance to be proud of their school.
Longtime Washington Kindergarten Teacher