Special Report: New classroom technology - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Special Report: New classroom technology

Teachers can get instant results on quizzes and see how well students understand the material. (Source: WALB) Teachers can get instant results on quizzes and see how well students understand the material. (Source: WALB)
Information is more readily available than ever today. (Source: WALB) Information is more readily available than ever today. (Source: WALB)
The school also tracks the laptops they have. If one goes outside of a certain radius, the IT department gets an alert. (Source: WALB) The school also tracks the laptops they have. If one goes outside of a certain radius, the IT department gets an alert. (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The Dougherty County school system is in phase two of their one-one technology project.

Now that students have their laptops, school officials are making sure teachers know how to use it.

The Dougherty County school system has 14 instructional technology specialists working with teachers to make they know how to utilize the new tools.

Information is more readily available than ever today.

"You just Google it. Ask Siri for most of your homework assignment questions," said mom and teacher Charlice Noble-Jones.

She said her son’s new laptop has come in handy for all his classes.

Her 12-year-old son Preston says he uses it for social studies, reading, writing, and math.

So how does Dougherty County's One-to-One program work?

“The emphasis now is trying to appeal to the visual learner, not just hearing the teacher’s voice all the time,” said Dougherty High teacher Dr. Marcia Lindsey.

Students have their own unique login and password and access a specific network, designed just for them.

Lindsey teaches American Literature and says part of the digital curriculum, called "Schoology" is a handy tool.

Teachers can get instant results on quizzes and see how well students understand the material.

“A teacher is able to teach, give examples, and then assess where the students are before they take a test," said Cherly Smith, Coordinator of Instructional Improvement.

And it has other advantages, too. They can visit a lot of places.

Today Thomas Amos’ class takes a virtual tour of Ellis Island.

“It has interactive buttons at each site that you can go to and it will tell you what it would be like at that place in Ellis Island,” said Thomas Amos, who teaches social studies at Westover High School.

Amos says it also saves a lot of time

“I can put a test together really quickly so I don’t spend as much time on test preparation,” he said.

Schoology and another, called ELocker are online learning management systems.

Teachers can load material there, and design quizzes and tests. They can also send messages to students.

“Teachers utilizing that platform can record themselves,"  said Smith. "They can send messages to students to remind them, 'Hey I saw you had a quiz on Friday, and I noticed on your informative assessment you’re still struggling, so I’m going to send you some extra things,'"

But leaders also understand that the potential for misuse comes with any new technology.

“When you have access to the internet it opens so many doors,” said Troy Conley, Dougherty County Schools Police Chief.

Cyber-bullying is something school police take very seriously.

“It can happen anytime day or night, you know 24-hours a day, seven days a week,” added Chief Conley.

He says so far they haven’t seen any issues with the new technology, but they do get some complaints.

“That’s why parents have to be extremely mindful of what their child does,” Conley said.

He says they see anywhere from five to seven complaints a month about cyber-bullying.

But he hasn’t taken any calls from parents concerned about the new technology.

However, school officials say parents do tell them when they have problems.

“Our parents have been really good about letting us know, 'hey my daughter downloaded [a chat app], and she is not supposed to be able to do that.' And we are able to address it,” said Smith.

The school also tracks the laptops they have. If one goes outside of a certain radius, the IT department gets an alert.

“We can locate it anywhere in the world, down to the street address, said Kenneth Dyer, Associate Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer.

Noble-Jones adds that it’s been very convenient for her and her son.

“He can work on his assignments in the car, if we go away for the weekend we have access to them,” she explained.

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