Classroom technology in Morgan County schools
Morgan County Schools Technology Coordinator
For the last several years, Morgan County School District has strived to put the best classroom and support technology tools in the hands of students, teachers, parents and administrators. Newcomers to the school system will find high speed internet along with multiple computer labs and classroom computers. The teaching staff is supplied with 21st Century Learning tools along with staff development to maximize the benefit of these tools to students.
In classrooms, traditional white boards and chalkboards are being replaced with electronic interactive white boards, laptop computers and data projectors. Teachers are delivering instruction with the latest educational software in the classroom and then re-enforcing that instruction with web-based curriculum in the computer labs. Students are challenged to be engaged in their education with electronic interactive response systems in many of the core subjects.
The Morgan County Schools Strategic Plan continues to unfold this year with the rollout of technology tools. The Strategic Plan involves more than classroom technology, but this article highlights some of the technology tools that are online or will be coming this year.
Morgan County Schools website
The current website for Morgan County Schools — http://morganschools.net — will be disappearing at any time. Edline county, school and teacher websites will be taking its place. When the transition is completed, the public will be able to view the county and school websites. Teacher websites will be available to only parents and students who have specific access.
Elaine Mitchell, county coordinator of Technology Services, is in charge of the county website. Once the preliminary work is done, the web addresses will be made public.
For the first time, the Morgan County Board of Education and all schools will have automated calling systems that allow them to contact people within the community. The most common use for the system will be absence calling to alert parents when children are not in school.
The system can call multiple numbers such as parents', grandparents' and guardians' homes, work and cell phones. Parents who provide an email address to the school can also receive email notification.
SchoolConnects is capable of doing many other types of notifications, such as calls to parents of students in specific classrooms or on specific bus routes in case of a change or problem. In the event of a school closing, delay or emergency, the system has the capability of making thousands of calls per hour.
The system will also be used to inform employees about things that pertain specifically to them and will also be available to reach out to members of the community as necessary.
K-8 Odyssey Program
Last year the board made a major commitment to put the K-8 Odyssey Program into all schools. It replaces the old Compass Learning System. Odyssey is a web-based, standards-based program that re-enforces what teachers are doing in classrooms. The program has functioned well in assisting teachers with different learning strategies to meet specific student learning needs. Teachers can assess where an individual student is in a subject and provide prescriptive computer work to help a student overcome specific deficiencies. The program will continue this year and be expanded. Students and teachers have reacted very favorably.
High School Odyssey
Berkeley Springs and Paw Paw High Schools have replaced the Plato Web program with a 24-course complete high school web-based curriculum that is primarily for use with alternative education. Instruction is delivered in a rigorous multimedia format and was used in summer school for the first time this year.
Unlike other programs, this one is available for homebound students. While the preferred method is for students to get their education in regular classrooms, High School Odyssey provides another tool to assist students as the need arises.
GradeQuick Web is the leading electronic grade book in use today. The program is fully operational at Berkeley Springs and Paw Paw high schools, Warm Springs Intermediate and Middle Schools, and Pleasant View Elementary School. By the end of this school year, the program will be operational throughout the district.
This is another web-based product that allows teachers to maintain their grade books electronically and access those grade books anywhere they have internet. The program includes grade book, seating chart, lesson planner and report functions all on one webpage. GradeQuick Web interfaces with the student management system so teachers can submit attendance and report card grades electronically. This reduces the amount of administrative time that teachers have to spend, increasing the amount of instruction time.
In addition, the report function allows the teacher to create a variety of printed reports to keep parents and administrators informed on student progress. The companion software, Edline, takes this reporting to another level.
Edline and GradeQuick Web together are powerful tools to keep parents informed in a real-time manner through the internet about a child's progress. The program is fully implemented at Berkeley Springs High and Warm Spring Middle Schools. The web-based program is available to parents, students and teachers anywhere that the internet is available.
The public side of Edline is where the county and school web pages are housed. On those pages are information, calendar events, menus, contact information and a variety of other relevant information.
On the "by invitation only" side are web pages where teachers can place information on classroom activities, homework, content standards, class-related links and student progress reports. The same security that is used for online banking is employed by Edline to ensure the security of the information.
Parents and students can access this website by obtaining an access code from the school. This code allows parents and students to create accounts that give them access. Parents can give an email address when they register so parents and teachers can communicate through email. Parents can also request that Edline send them an email whenever a new progress report is posted by a teacher. That report is only accessible to someone with a secure Edline account.
Parents and students do not share Edline accounts. Students also can view the teacher websites in Edline and their progress reports. The innovative program has been well received by parents and students at Berkeley Springs High and Warm Springs Middle schools in the past. Parents should be expecting announcements from their schools throughout the year on when this service will be available.
If there is a common thread throughout the technology program, it is communication. Our business is to communicate learning to students. We spend our days in constant communication with administrators, teachers, parents, students and community members. Where there is effective two-way communication among everyone with an interest in schools, we can make great strides in preparing students for the ever-changing world that faces them in the future. Input from parents and community members is a critical part of our responsibility to students.
For more information on technology in your child's school, contact the school or watch for updates. The county contact for technology in Morgan County Schools is Curt Heldreth at 304-258-2430 x37 or firstname.lastname@example.org.