How Isom has improved its connectivity to tech instruction

How Isom has improved its connectivity to tech instruction
Posted on 02/13/2018

Technology has long transformed researching and paper writing in middle and high schools. But that isn’t always the case in the elementary schools. Isom Elementary aims to change that by placing a larger focus on technology in the classroom, all with the goal of using tech as a tool to accomplish instruction and learning in a more efficient and student-focused manner.

By increasing the availability of laptops in the classroom, it allows teachers to do more in class. “We have always had the computer lab,” says Tami Anderson, Isom tech coach, “but having laptops allows teachers to test in the classroom and students are learning how to properly research and then type up papers. State testing requires them to do that, so we are using technology as a tool, a tool that now gets jobs done quicker.”

Isom went from two functioning carts of laptops last year to five fully functioning carts this year, plus the computer lab. Anderson says having the option for multiple classes to test within the classroom signifies a “huge” benefit to teachers and students. And that doesn’t even count the daily interactions with technology.

“In today’s educational environment there are so many opportunities to differentiate (learning) by using technology,” says Isom fourth-grade teacher Ryan Mitchell. “With a shared laptop cart in fourth grade, I am able to give the students more opportunity to grow their skills across all areas of curriculum. Without it I am left with teaching small groups to address individual needs.”

When it comes to understanding technology—Anderson teaches technology during specialist time, akin to music—most kindergarten students come into the building never having used a mouse and knowing only how to operate a touchscreen tablet. For the youngest in the building, exposure to new technologies helps set the foundation that introduces typing skills in the primary grades until integrating reading and math on a computer. By third grade, students are learning to format documents, research and more. “Second grade is the most pivotal,” Anderson says.

Now with technology in the classroom, principal Patrick McClure says they are able to really utilize the tools on a daily basis, especially in the older grades.

Mitchell says teaching responsible use of tech surfaces as an important skill, which includes educating students about good information sources versus bad sources. In math, students can have individualized instruction for enrichment or remediation, “essentially allowing me to reach all students at their individual level as opposed to only working with a small group.”