Chouteau Elementary School is starting the school year with brand new Samsung Chromebooks in the hands of every fourth and fifth grade student.
The school received a Google grant to fund the project. The laptops, to be used by approximately 100 Chouteau students, come complete with new curriculum and programs.
Donna Pillars, Chouteau Elementary School assistant principal, said she is excited to see technology in the hands of students.
She said the school's technology director applied for the grant last year to cover third through fifth grade. When the funding came in, it was only enough for two grades.
“We will keep applying for the funding. We're really hoping to incorporate third grade,” said Pillars. “Eventually we want to incorporate technology of some kind all the way to down to our kindergarten students.”
The laptops are used to access age-appropriate curriculum.
“They've got a program called Soft7 that teaches multiplication. The students race to beat Einstein, it is great for memorization,” said Pillar. “It's a lot of fun.”
She said the school also got Discovery Techbooks software, a science program and Study Island, a product that is customizable to all core standards.
The Study Island website describes it as, “a product to help students in kindergarten through 12th grade master state-specific, grade-level academic standards in a fun and engaging manor.” The program provides “standards-based instructional, practice, assessment and productivity tools that improve the performance of educators and students via the web-based platforms.”
The teachers will be able to use the new curriculum, and find new education options suited to their class needs.
“We're very excited to be offering keyboarding. We got a keyboarding tutorial that we'll utilize and we have an incentive program to reward typing speed and accuracy,”said Pillars.
Students will be able to type some assignments and upload them to their teacher via the Chromebook, a practice utilized by many high schools and colleges.
“I am so excited to see how they take to keyboarding, it's such a crucial skill,” said Pillars.
Older Wildcats, Chouteau High School and Middle School students, begin the year utilizing the 1:1 Computer Program.
This program puts laptops in the hands of all Chouteau students sixth through 12th grade. These laptops are essentially checked out to the student and can be taken home to work on homework, do research or utilize digital textbooks. The Chouteau-Mazie School Board said the students and staff will use Google Apps for Education.
“Students will work on collaborative projects, and interact with the teaching staff digitally. They will access Google Drive for assignments, file storage, and email,” according to the school board.
The program is as much about creating a paperless environment and being environmentally conscious as it is about fostering technology skills essential in the modern workplace.
Pillars and the rest of the Chouteau Schools Staff are excited to bring technology into the schools.
“We want these kids in the 21st century. We want to prepare them the best we can for their futures,” said Pillars.