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Learning easier with software

December 27, 2019

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsA teacher or student can touch the screen with an electronic pen to write on it. A finger can be used to move objects around. Highlands’ fifth graders all use Palm Pilot PDAs to do their work. About half the fifth-graders use Palm Pilots purchased by their parents, but the school also has enough of its own to make sure all others have access. “I love that we don’t have to write everything down anymore,” fifth-grader Diorella Dizon said. “It’s cool. It turns the work into a game,” said Aidan Danahy. Using the smartboard, DeAmicis conducted a place-value lesson for her fifth-graders on Monday morning. DeAmicis wrote a math problem on the screen using electronic markers, then used a free downloaded program to work on the math, made readily available by the universities who design the programs. DeAmicis dragged representational cubes to represent decimal-point values and quickly erased her work with a fingertip. The youngsters sat in a circle, quickly raising their hands for a chance to come up and use their interactive computer system. The Palm Pilots are also out and about during the lecture, with children writing down notes and typing text with foldable infrared keyboards. DeAmicis downloads the free programs to teach her interactive lessons, finding Web pages and Internet images to supplement her lectures. DeAmicis sends homework assignments to each child’s Palm Pilot, sometimes assigning the child to continue working with parents at home on the programs used in class. But DeAmicis said pen and paper are still not obsolete. She does not accept an excuse that a child could not do homework because a Palm Pilot crashed. “Well, if their software fails, they can still grab paper and a pencil and do it,” she said. She said teachers need to realize that computers are not only attractive to kids, but also instruments on which they are at ease. “These kids are digital natives, and we are the immigrants,” DeAmicis said. “They are already using computers while playing video games or surfing the Net. This is a way to get them to use these tools in a way they would need to in the workplace.” While the Palm Pilots are in use only in fifth-grade classrooms, the smartboards are in 13 classrooms and expected in all the rest, except for kindergarten, by the end of the school year. Each costs about $2,200. Money to buy them has come from the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, the city of Santa Clarita and the U.S. Department of Education, which also helped pay for the Palm Pilots. Highlands’ Parent Faculty Organization has promised to provide an additional $19,200, and the rest of the funding will come from the Saugus Union School District’s modernization money, set aside for technology.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAUGUS – At Highlands Elementary School, the classrooms are changing with the times. Four years after installing the first computerized touch-screen “smartboard” and handing out the first Palm Pilot, the school for children in first through sixth grades is preparing to fill the rest of its classrooms with the interactive boards to help prepare youngsters for the future. “Kids need to not only be comfortable using computers, but they need to know how to use these tools effectively in the workplace,” said fifth-grade teacher Bonita DeAmicis, who was among the first teachers to use computer tools in the classroom at Highlands and now trains other teachers on using them. Smartboards are used like chalkboards or marker boards, but instead of chalk or erasable markers, teachers use computers on their desks, and the screen itself is computerized. last_img

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