Teaching History Goes High Tech

Teachers have already been using computers in the classroom to tally up grades, take attendance, and keep track of lesson plans. But, a new program in TISD helps teachers take technology to the students. Making it a learning experience for everyone involved.

Dozens of Junior high school students are studying 20th Century American History with 21st Century technology. The summer's lesson is Ellis Island, taught with I-Macs and Handy-Cams.

"It's actually technology, and when we grow up, we're going to be dealing with it," said 11 year old Lindsey Permenter. "So, I might as well learn it now instead of in school because in school it takes a little while."

To learn more about immigration to America, the kids are putting together a silent movie. They write the scripts, shoot the scenes, and edit the final film. But the real students aren't the students.

Katherine Elmore is a former teacher who is now running the Ellis Island Project for TISD. "We hope the students have fun. We hope the students learn. But it's training for the teachers to give them first hand application."

Janna Anderson is not yet a certified teacher. But she's already getting a lesson in reaching kids with the latest technology. "I'm getting the experience of a lifetime. They're like little sponges. So, they'll suck in all this information." And Janna now has another teaching tool to share that information. That's exactly what Elmore was hoping for. "It shouldn't replace good teaching. It shouldn't replace books. But it's a wonderful addition to what they already have."

The funding for the Ellis Island Project came from a state "T.I.E." Grant. A $625,000 program to promote "Technology Integrated into Education."