LEELANAU COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) — Like many school districts across the country, Glen Lake Community Schools is a one to one school district, which means each student is paired up with their own piece of technology.
“This is a fairly new device,” said Glen Lake Director of Administrative and Instructional Technology Marcus Mead as he showed off one of the school’s Google Chromebooks. “It’s similar to a laptop, but it runs on Google Chrome OS.”
Teachers at Glen Lake are utilizing chromebooks, laptops and iPads for for interactive lessons, assignments, tests and everything in between.
“A really well planned lesson might involve all of those things,” Mead said about the different abilities. “You might have a power point or something you’re presenting to the class, but it’d be good to build in what we call a formative assessment as you go so that throughout the lesson, there are checkpoints to see ‘are the kids understanding.’”
“Some feedback comes with a concern about just about how much their child is in front of a screen,” said Glen Lake Community Schools Superintendent Sander Scott. While Scott says many parents want school districts with lots of technology, some parents worry its use is too much. However, Scott says part of the education process is teaching moderation when it comes to technology.
“Part of our overall instruction with technology is to talk about how do we balance that,” Scott said. “We don’t want our young people in front of a screen 24/7.”
Many teachers like high school Spanish teacher Matt Soltysiak have utilized the devices in class for many assignments, including tests.
“The nice thing about doing that on the computer is that they get immediate feedback right when they finish,” Soltysiak said. So while it helps the students learn, it also helps the teachers. “The teacher then can look at all the information and they automatically know how many students got what number wrong… so it gives you a little more data so you can analyze and make corrections or adjustments to give better tests.”
While electronic devices seem to be taking over schools, teachers and administrators also exercise balance, saying technology is an addition to the classroom and not a replacement.
The writing down still takes place, our district still teaches cursive, we still teach handwriting,” laughed Mead. “It’s not designed to just replace everything.”
“It’s just another tool,” explained Soltysiak. “You still have to have all the other basic things in place, and it’s just another tool to assist you in helping students reach a higher level.”