District two reviews technology

A major focus of this month’s Big Horn County School District No. 2 meeting was a review of the use of iPads in the classroom. Math instructor Doug Hazen outlined how the new technology is being used as an important teaching tool in his classroom at Lovell High School.

Hazen demonstrated the “turning point” application, which allows him to quiz his students while at the same time providing immediate feedback to him and to individual students.

Students type in their ID number and text in their answers to questions using their iPad. The software shows the teachers their answers and summarizes the answers for the teacher. The teacher can immediately tell if the students are understanding the material presented in the class and represent the material if necessary until students show through their answers that they understand the material. The teacher can also see if everyone has responded and is alerted when a student is unable to answer the question.

“I think this is my favorite application,” said Hazen. “It’s basically a student response system. What it allows me to do is to monitor the class without having to look over every student’s shoulder to make sure they are doing the work.”

Hazen likes the fact that the system gives the students some independence to work out the answers to the problems but at the same time allows him to determine if he has explained the material well enough for most students to understand it. It also shows him immediately if someone is getting left behind. Hazen also likes the fact that the program has a feature that allows students to text him if they need help. He thought this was especially nice for shy students who may be embarrassed to raise their hand if they have a problem understanding the material.

Hazen also demonstrated other applications that allow students to concentrate on specific areas of expertise that they are testing on in standardized tests like the ACT. One application has built in video tutoring on every question. These applications are extremely useful in preparing students for tests like ACT. The programs help the teacher to determine what the areas of need are for individual students and allow the student to work on deficiencies through lessons that are customized just for them. Hazen thinks this will help students improve their PAWS and ACT scores.

This is the second year Hazen has used the applications to enhance his teaching strategies in the classroom.

“I don’t know what I would do without these programs now,” said Hazen. “I’ve become quite dependent on the technology and it is a big part of how my classroom is run.”

Hazen thinks the programs help students who struggle with math and those who excel in math.

“It helps the higher level students because they can give themselves 50 extra problems if they want more to do, while at the same time there are remediation apps for students who are struggling and need extra help.”

In other business:

Colin May was presented with a certificate of good sportsmanship award for his sportsman-like behavior shown at the Regional 2A cross country meet held on Oct. 13.

Lovell High School’s football coach Doug Hazen accepted three certificates of good sportsmanship awards on behalf of the football team.

See a detailed story about the awards in this week’s sports section.

An audit report was presented to the board by accounta. The report showed favorable accounting practices and appropriate allocation of funds. He stated that there were no material weaknesses or findings in the report.

Sophomore student body president Chelby Lewis updated the board on student activities. According to Lewis, students recently completed a campaign to raise funds that will go toward school improvement. They are also planning a dance that will take place in the near future.

The board also reviewed resolutions that will be discussed this week at the Wyoming School Boards Association Conference and instructed school board delegate Marianne Grant how to respond on their behalf at the meeting.

By Patti Carpenter