The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

September 19, 2013

Compact computers help Cardinal kids

(Continued)

Nathan Yeager, a Cardinal junior, said sometimes, just working on an assignment can trigger a student's curiosity. In districts where students aren't as connected, there's not very far they can take their new enthusiasm.

"If it interests you [in Eldon], you can get on there, look it up. Otherwise, you're limited to what the textbook tells you."

Hissem said he sees students chasing information as they travel the Worldwide Web.

"I've gone into classrooms where I've seen teachers posing a question, [like for history], 'Give me an example of this, find an example of where this occurred.' It's amazing how engaged the kids are. The search ... is exciting to them. They could share something no one else is going to read. These Kunos, when used well, can increase engagement."

As soon as students enter his classroom, secondary level math teacher Jay Olson instructs kids to use a program on their tablet.

"It's an assessment and a review for what we did yesterday," he said.

The assessment and review is just four questions that remind the students of yesterday's work and allow Olson to see whether kids are "getting it."

They work on the four questions "as I'm taking attendance. I can look at who is on what question, who is getting questions correct and how the whole class is doing."

Principal Hissem said there's a movement in education to do what they call formative assessments.

"You can make an informed decision [on what to teach]," he said. "We're always checking along the way to see if kids are learning what we want them to learn."

If the whole class understands the chapter perfectly, that's great, the teacher just moves on to the next lesson. If the whole class seems lost, the teacher knows to put more focus on that chapter before moving on.

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