VIDEO REPORT: High Tech Classrooms in Sun Prairie

By: Phil Levin Email
By: Phil Levin Email

Teachers in Sun Prairie are preparing high-tech upgrades for their classrooms this fall.

High School Science Teacher Matt McLaughlin will "LectureCast" each lesson. It is traditional teaching turned around. He uses a SMART Board to dictate lessons and upload the 15 minute videos to YouTube. Students watch and learn at home, then come to class to ask questions.

"This is everything you would have seen in the classroom except for me walking around," McLaughlin said. "I don't have to worry about them going home and getting frustrated and saying 'Well, I didn't get it so I didn't finish it.' Here they are in the class and if they get frustrated, their hand goes up and I go over and I can explain it to them."

Like some other teachers, McLaughlin hosts handouts and links on an online course site. Middle School Social Studies Teacher Tim Mortensen uses a service called Edmodo that even facilities student discussion after the bell.

"Edmodo will send a text message telling me they have a question and then I can jump on here and and answer their question and send them a note back," he said.

Mortensen also has a classroom set of iPads, and has spent much of the summer scouring for the latest apps. Among his favorites is Pocket Law Firm, an app developed in Madison. Students decided whether fictional characters have a legal case based on their understanding of constitutional amendments.

"The whole time they lose sight of the fact that they're learning the Bill of Rights," said Mortensen. "All of a sudden we get to the assessment phase and they're just experts at it."

Mortensen says he is also looking forward to the release of additional iBooks. The digital textbooks often include videos and other interactive features.

Supervisor of Technology Mike Mades says the free Google Docs service is also changing how educators collaborate. The online apps allow multiple users to view and edit the same document.

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