While it may not sound like it at first listen, all the events were educational as well.
The Childersburg High Performing Arts and Sports Arena was filled with elementary, middle and high school students showing off some of their best technology projects of the year on Wednesday.
The fifth annual Talladega County Schools’ Technology Showcase served as a chance for students and their educators to celebrate what they’ve learned throughout the year and the neat things they’ve done with that knowledge. And while showing off their own accomplishments, the students and teachers were also able to learn new things from others presenting projects at the event.
Brooke Morgan, assistant principal at Munford Elementary School, and Jennifer Barnett, an English and history teacher at Fayetteville High School, co-coordinated the showcase. Both educators said the event is a chance to show others in the county School System as well as others in the state some of the projects the students have been working on throughout the school year. Those projects all utilize 21st century technology, such as computers or iPads.
After learning about a subject or particular topic in class, the students then work on the project for several weeks. The best of those projects and several students from those classes are then chosen to present the project at the showcase.
In addition to learning the subject and the technology, the students also begin working on their communication skills from an early age.
“Even second-graders … they are able to explain their project and teach visitors how to use the technology,” Morgan said. “It’s more than just technology.”
Barnett said the presentation portion of the event puts the teaching in the students’ hands and “makes their learning more authentic.”
Barnett and Morgan said the event works as “great professional development” for the teachers because they are able to see things other educators are using in their classrooms.
One of the biggest hits of the day was the iPad learning lab. The “lab” featured 16 iPads with students teaching the “classes” on different applications available for the device. Attendees who have never used the iPad were able to sit down with one and actually get to see how the different applications work on the tablet.
“Several people were really excited and now want to go out and get an iPad,” Morgan said.
Several second-graders from Amber Waites’ Munford Elementary School class presented fairytales they wrote and illustrated on iPads using various apps. Breanna Clark, Aiden Marquardt and Connor Morgan each talked about reading various fairytales and learning about variations of such stories before making their own stories in Waites’ class this year. The students used apps such at Toontastic, Picturebook and Scribble Press while publishing their fairytales on the iPads.
Several third-graders at A.H. Watwood Elementary used technology to enhance their study of rocks this year. Malakai Mitchell, Ayanna Swain and Ryan Slaten told showcase attendees how they took their research on various types of rocks and made a video using the Animoto app. The students also recorded their research on igneous rocks, then used the app Songify to turn their information into a song.
Chance Owens and Kazden Duke, second-graders in Anita Simpson’s class at Fayetteville, made math a little more fun by using a website to turn math problems into comic strips.
The fun wasn’t limited to just the elementary school level. High school students from around the county presented some of their projects as well. Barnett’s students from Fayetteville High used quick response codes, commonly referred to as QR codes, to jazz up their history project. Jacob Skinner, Landyn Bassett, Kayla Sherbert, Justin Andrews, Heather Hurst, Grayson Shaw, Alana Campbell and Lauren Guy each wore T-shirts with a QR code on the front Wednesday.
Snapping a picture of the code connects the user with the student’s wiki page, which features their history project. To learn historical events and also gain more knowledge about QR codes, students in Barnett’s class had a QR code scavenger hunt over the school. Students would find a code, go to the website to find out their question, which would lead them to a teacher or a place in the school where they would find another code that would lead to another question. The “hunt” eventually ended up back in Barnett’s classroom.
“It was a lot better than sitting in class taking notes,” Skinner said.
After finishing the project, the students began to notice the codes on all sorts of products, ranging from bags of chips to boxes of pizza. The students had several of those products available for showcase attendees to see, and were able to tell those interested how to generate a QR code for themselves.
Students in Phillip Jenkins’ math class at B.B. Comer added a little color to their geometry this year. Several students were present at the showcase to talk about their artwork that they made during math class. Logan Lackey and Makayla Harris are just two of the students who were displaying their artwork, which features a geometric shape in its design. The students had a visit from a professional painter before beginning the project. They then researched art at the library before finding something that spoke to them personally. After painting their masterpieces, the students took a picture of the artwork and then imported it into the computer to make a digital art gallery. Both the digital version and the printed work was displayed Wednesday and the students were able to tell participants about the artwork and why they chose to paint a certain subject. The students’ artwork will be available for purchase Tuesday night at a silent auction at Math, Art and Music at B.B. Comer High. The event begins at 6 p.m.
Contact Heather Baggett at firstname.lastname@example.org.