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SUMTER SCHOOLS SYSTEM GETS BIG TECHNOLOGY BOOST

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: Sumter County Schools received a massive infusion of technical support to supplement classroom learning.  The system received 1,287 new laptop computers, 1,174 ipads, and 180 desktops, all designated for students’ use across the system.

                The computers are not meant to substitute for classroom learning, but provide an additional tool for teachers to address specific concepts and topics within the curriculum.

                “The computers are to be used for remediation and tutorial in the five core academic areas: math, science, reading, English language arts, and social studies,” said Gayla Braziel, Director of Federal Programs.  “Teachers can use individualized data for each student and find areas that require additional support,  then find a program or app that can address that particular student’s need.”

                Different students learn better through different instructional techniques. The computers provide teachers with a variety of means to help the child better understand what is being taught in the class.

                “Some students may learn better using an app with a game format,” Ms. Braziel continued. “Some might understand anatomy better through virtual dissection.”

                All of the new computers were paid for by grants received by the school system through Federal Title One programs.

                The new technology was welcomed by principals across the system:

                “We are very excited about getting more technology districtwide,” said Sharon Tullis, Principal at Sumter County Primary School. “At SCPS, students will continue to have technology at their fingertips to practice and reinforce skills taught in math, reading, and writing.”

                Sharon Marcus, principal at Staley Middle Schools, noted the positive impact the new computers were likely to have on students’ education:

                “The research indicates that there is a strong link between student engagement and the use of technology,” Ms. Marcus said. “The increase in student engagement has a positive impact on student achievement. Students today are very comfortable with technology and enjoy using technology in the classroom.”

                Most schools will implement mobile laboratories through the school’s media center, whereby a group of thirty or so laptops or iPads can be checked out to a particular classroom at a time.

                “The mobile computer lab can be rolled between classes which will give students an opportunity to do much more research,” said Jill Cochran, Director of the Media Center at Sumter Middle School.  “It will give the teachers a lot more flexibility and many more opportunities.”

                  Students in all grades and at all levels of skill will benefit from the explosion of computer-based learning programs available through the internet.  At Sumter Primary School, Kindergarten teacher Crystal Waddell plans to use programs both to help all students master the state’s curriculum.

                “It gives children individual instructions,” said Ms. Waddell. “Programs like English in a Flash or Reading Eggs challenges students to advance at their own rate.”

                All computers used through the school system are strictly filtered to keep students from accessing non-educational websites or inappropriate material. In addition, the computers are all identified through both etchings on the computer and by barcodes. Their use is monitored. Teachers are responsible for checking them in and out.

                But if a computer ends up missing, they are embedded with technology that allows the school to track their location on Google Maps. The iPads also are equipped with security wipes whereby the school can erase everything on the machine, thus rendering them inoperable. 

                Each school will receive between one-hundred and twenty to two-hundred and seventy-five iPads. Most schools will receive between one-hundred and twenty to three-hundred and thirty-five laptops.  A limited number of desk top computers will be distributed system-wide, as well.

 

For more information, please call Tom DeTitta at 229-942-5947

 
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