Technology is being used in new and different ways in Utah schools and the results are beginning to show, educators say.
Recent reports to the Utah State Office of Education regarding technology-based programs included the following:- Weber District's T.H. Bell Junior High School is using a voice mail box to help seventh graders stay current on assignments. Students may call 24 hours a day to hear class and homework assignments from four math teachers, four language arts teachers, two science teachers and a teacher of Utah studies. They also may call the school counselor and leave a message. The counselor responds as quickly as possible during regular school hours. The pilot project is being monitored and may be expanded if it is found to be effective.
- Murray High School's computer lab uses a three-step program to improve student writing skills - pre-write, draft and edit. With computers doing the tedious work of editing, correcting, polishing and checking spelling, students are more enthused about the creative aspects of writing, teachers say. A typical 32-station writing lab can serve up to 1,200 students at half the cost of textbooks for such a number. American businesses complain they cannot get employees who are able to write well and they spend billions of dollars annually to have materials re-written.
- Ogden District has installed an integrated learning system in each of its elementary schools and has noted a significant improvement in scores for reading and/or mathematics. Each student works in the computer lab for about 20 minutes per day. Teachers, parents and students themselves receive regular progress reports and the computers then help the students in specific problem areas.
- Skyline High School in Granite District has installed a mathematics computer lab that has changed student attitudes toward math courses. The lab was purchased after students showed weaknesses in basic computation skills. Only 20 percent said that geometry was their favorite class. After using the lab equipment for an hour each week to polish computation skills, students saw their scores on standardized tests soar. Now, 80 percent say geometry is their favorite subject.