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Technology helps keep students focused in class

Technology in the classroom

Teachers in Richmond County are helping keep students engaged by using technology in the classroom. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 12, 2011)

News 12 This Morning / Friday, Aug. 12, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- At Warren Road Elementary, Ms. Suzanna Sutton's fourth grade language arts classroom is full of netbooks instead of notebooks.

The pencil sharper in the room barely works, but that's okay, her students don't usually need it.

"We do everything with the netbooks," Sutton said.

Suttons' 24 netbooks stay in her class so her students can visit poetry websites and listen to the words instead of read them off of a page.

"I see where books just aren't interesting to them," Sutton said. "If you do the exact same thing on the netbook, they are much more interested. They are still getting the same skill, just through technology."

Her student Tanner Thurmond explains it best: "When I'm at home I get on the computer and go find something to do because I'm bored."

It takes a lot to keep Tanner engaged, but in Ms. Sutton's class he gets excited as he enters his answers online for his jeopardy game.

"On the netbooks I don't have to open the book," Tanner said. "I'm kind of lazy and I don't like to flip the pages."

With one click, Tanner has all the information he needs at his fingertips.

Media specialists at the school are spending more time training teachers on ways to implement technology into the classroom. Not just with netbooks, but with the active boards in the classroom.

"Within the last two years they have all started using more multimedia in the classroom," said Hillary Murrah, media specialist at Warren Road Elementary. "I think it's really a funding source. There are lack of funds to really have the technology. Now, Richmond County is kind of helping us get more funds to get technology in the building."

With more technology in the building, students like Tanner are able to put together more creative projects like video slides using a photo programs.

"With technology, I've been able to keep their attention most all the time," Sutton said. "With the board, we really don't use text books often."

Warren Road Elementary has netbooks for the older students in third through fifth grades. This year, the school will receive another cart with 24 additional netbooks for the younger students. Each cart costs $4,000. The money is distributed by the school board based on the need for technology at schools throughout the county.

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