Last week Macon R-I Elementary students got a chance to learn how to use their new mobile computer lab.
The unit consists of 24 laptop computers stored in a mobile cart for easier traveling from classroom to classroom. The lab cost approximately $13,000 according to Elementary Principal Ernest Motley.
“The money to purchase the computer lab was raised by the PTO through their fall fundraiser,” said Motley.
Macon Elementary has one other mobile lab which is a Google Chrome lab with 24 internet tablets.
“We need to continue to work on building our inventory of computers,” said Motley. “Our goal is to add a couple more mobile labs. I believe the PTO is planning to sponsor another fundraiser this spring.”
Due to the addition of more classroom sections by the district to lower the student/teacher ratio there is no longer space for a permanent computer lab room.
“The mobile labs are a way to still get technology in the student’s hands,” said Motley.
Fourth grade instructor Dawn Bright agrees.
“I love computers,” says Bright. “Learning to use them helps better prepare the students for middle school and high school work.”
“I like the new laptops,” said fourth grader Bret Ulhorn. “We get to use them to look up about what Benjamin Franklin did for America.”
According to Bright, the students have read a book on Franklin and will be reading one more.
“They are using the computers to do research, find facts, and turn them into a report,” she said. “They will be doing comparisons and contrasts between the two books.”
Student Paizley Harrison said, “The computer makes learning more interesting, I like to learn new things on it.”
Motley says that these first few days are a learning process for both the teachers and the students.
“Once we get organized, we will have a calendar for the teachers to sign-up to schedule their use time,” said Motley.
“It is very important for the students to become more proficient on the computer,” he said. “We are being told that in 2014 all the state assessment tests for the third, fourth and fifth grades will be done on the computer.”