Published Works,  Technology Column

Tech 15

TECH # 15

As kids and teachers get geared up for a new school year, there are a few changes to note. Computers are in the class room like never before! “We’re trying not to make computing a separate course.” Says Dr. Cindy Sparks, supervisor of instructional technology for Chesapeake’s school system. I asked Sparks to explain. “In English class, students are using word processors, in math courses, projects are prepared on a spreadsheet program. Science classes now use a data base to compile observations and kids are learning how to extrapolate conclusions based on computer generated reports. It’s more like the real world.”

It was surprising to learn just how available computers are to local students this year. “Computers are in every elementary school class room. At the middle and high school level, every school has a computer lab, and many rooms have computers.” Sparks told me. Why the big push toward high tech? “Well, it’s actually part of the standards of learning handed down as a state mandate. We’ve been gearing up for this for a couple of years now, but this year it’s finally reaching fruition.” When I asked if the faculty was prepared for this new technology Dr. Sparks chuckled and said “We’ve been doing lots of teacher training over the summer.”

Do you use computers at home. “Oh, all the time!” Sparks admitted. “I use the bell method.” This was getting interesting. “When I go on-line, those ads really catch my eye. More often than not my surfing turns into a shopping safari!” Sparks confided, “my one self-imposed restraint is an old fashioned kitchen timer. When it goes of, I sign off.” Ding. That was no school bell.