Digital literacy program helps students communicate

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By Rebecca DeSensi

 In Richard Parrott’s fifth-grade classroom at Buckner Elementary, students used the “school pad” to review the correct answers to their geometry exam.

“Do you want me to write it?” asked a student who was answering a question that she had responded correctly to on the exam.

“Why don’t you draw it so we can visually see the difference and then talk about it,” Parrott responded.  

The student then used the school pad to “draw” congruent lines, which then appeared on the screen for the rest of her classmates to see.  

Students who may have answered incorrectly could then see the correct answer, illustrated by one of their peers.

In Amy Stokes’ math classroom at Oldham County High School, she uses the screen to project her TI Smartview, a representation of the graphing calculator that her students are using to solve logarithms.  

Stokes says that she also uses the school pad and screen to create graphs.  

“This program has automatic graph paper so you aren’t trying to draw a straight line with a ruler,” she said. “It makes explaining graphs much easier because it is crisper and cleaner; a lot of times when you were creating graphs with chalk on the chalkboard it just got vague.”

These are just a few of the ways that the Compu-trac Interactive Classroom systems have improved instruction in Oldham County.  

“It’s not so much that the way I present that has changed,” explains Parrott.  “The information is the same, it’s just that the media, or outlet to share it with the students has changed.”  

Every classroom in Oldham County is now equipped with Interactive Classroom technology, which includes a 64-by-84” screen, a document camera, a sound field amplification system, and a remote control school pad that enables the teacher or students to control the functions of the computer whose display is being projected.  The school pad also enables the user to write or draw images on the screen from their seats.  

“It’s like having your own personal secretary,” Stokes said.  “I am so much more organized now.  Before, once the white board or chalk board was erased, the information was gone.  

“With the school pad I can save my notes from the day and email it directly to students who may be absent.  The Interactive Classroom is more convenient for me and for the students.”

The site-based decision making council at Buckner Elementary has recently created a policy for acceptable e-mail usage for their 


Now each student will receive an e-mail address through the school, after going through “netiquette” training that will teach students how to appropriately use e-mail and the Internet.  

Parrott says the e-mail addresses will be very beneficial for his class, as another outlet to incorporate technology into their learning.  

“We have a class Web site where I can post files, and with an e-mail address I can now grant the students access to these files from their homes,” Parrott said.

Students will now be able to access PowerPoint presentations, class notes or copies of documents that they worked on together using Interactive Classroom outside of the classroom.  

And as for the students’ reaction to the increased use of technology in the classroom, Parrott says, “They all want to use it; this is more of a video game type interaction.  These students are in a much different place than their parents as far as technology and how they want to use it to learn.”

The Compu-trac Interactive Classroom has allowed for the engagement of students through the incorporation of 21st century learning skills.  

These students live in a digital age, and incorporating these essential technologies into their classroom experience will greatly enhance their ability to learn.