No more screeching fingernails across the blackboard, or chalk and eraser dust on kid's clothes anymore. The old blackboard is gone, and a new technology is taking its place.
When the new Austintown schools were built, one of the planning details included technology. The new school buildings were designed to take Austintown students into the future, and that can be seen at Austintown Elementary School and Austintown Intermediate School.
At AES, all the classrooms are equipped with touch-screen panels. The panels have a variety of uses from serving as a high-tech blackboard to becoming a movie screen.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Austintown Elementary School second-grader Tadhg Donnelly puts his answers on one of the district's new touch screen panels as classmates observe and learn. The new technology is in every classroom and has proven to be a big plus in engaging students.
"Prior to the start of this school year, all our teachers went through training on touch screen technology," AES Principal Tom Lenton said.
He said once the school year began, he visited the classrooms and found every class was really getting into the technology.
When a student is asked to write an answer on the touch-screen, he or she simply has to use their finger to form the letters or numbers.
Besides serving in that capacity, the screen can be used to project images. A small camera called an Elmo can project items onto the screen. The entire class can view the projected item at the same time.
Another feature of the touch screen is that it can display and function off the teacher's computer. Second grade teacher Christine Palmer was teaching about the life cycle of a frog in science class. She displayed the lesson on the screen, and then took it one step further.
"I was able to pull up the subject on the National Geographic website, and we were able to watch a video on frogs from eggs to adult," Palmer said. "Anything you have on a computer is available on the touch screen."
A visit to any AES or AIS classroom will reveal the touch screens and a lot of happy students eager to use the new technology. Lenton said it is the future, and it is at AES now.
"The chalk is gone," he said.