Technology broadens horizons in Decatur County schools

Published 7:47 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Brook Page and April Aldridge smile together after discussing technology in the school system at Rotary Club on Tuesday.

Rather than forbidding the use of smart phones, laptops and tablets in the classroom, Decatur County schools actually encourage it, and are making an effort to teach the correct usage of technology.

Director of Instructional Technology, Brook Page, is in her first year of that position, but already has made great progress, as she explained at Tuesday’s Rotary Club meeting.

Accompanied by Dr. April Aldridge, they first showed a video that described the various technologies and their usages in the schools grades 5 thru 12.

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Some of the more obvious advantages are that they can actually take visual field trips. Likewise, the schools are using fewer and fewer textbooks, as the teachers insert the lesson data online where the students can retrieve it and do research. They do testing online, therefore making it easier for teachers to grade papers.

Perhaps the biggest advantage is that the kids love it. If they love being on their cell phones or tablets, why not put them to good use.

Dr. Aldridge explained that they have a good filtering system and teachers can monitor any misuse. She stressed that the students are not only learning digital process, but when and how it is appropriate to use it.

An inquiry came from the audience as to what happens to the students who do not own their own technology, or even worse, do not have access to it in some of the rural areas of the county.

The answer was that they then have to go to paper and pencil, but added that the schools do have technology labs that are open before and after school for student usage. As to the lack of access in parts of the county, it is considered an immediate concern for Decatur County to remedy the problem.

It was noted that the Georgia Department of Education has a goal that by 2020 all students will have on-line learning and all students equipped with technology.

The pros and cons of Google Chrome books versus Microsoft were discussed, pointing out that if Wi-Fi is available, Google Chrome offers unlimited space at no cost to the users once the systems are installed.

What about testing? How do the schools monitor it to be sure students aren’t cheating? Aldridge explained that all tests are secured documents, that students must obtain a test ticket and use a special log in to take the test. She added that a proctor and test examiner are also present at testing.

Page added that all Decatur County School Board members are now completely online using the same technology.