Media project completed at middle school
As Washington Middle School computer applications teacher Nancy Clawson was speaking to her seventh-grade class this morning, “the beast” suddenly came on and threatened to drown out her lecture to students sitting on the far side of the room.
Even with the loud heating system running in the room, which Clawson has affectionately nicknamed “the beast,” she was not concerned that the students would be able to hear her instruction. Recently 31 classrooms in the school had been upgraded to be fully media-enabled. As part of the upgrade, a microphone that she wears around her neck amplifies her voice so all students will be able to hear her speak.
“I don’t know if we could teach without the media-enabled stuff anymore,” Clawson said. “The kids are tuned in to what we are saying and seeing it up on a screen. It allows so much more flexibility.”
Additionally, the media upgrade has included a projection screen at the front of the classroom. Some rooms also have an “Elmo,” which is a modern version of an overhead projector. It allows teachers to project anything onto the screen in the front of the classroom.
The $227,843 project at the middle school was funded through many grants, including an Iowa Demonstration Construction Grant, an Office of Energy Independence Grant and a $104,000 grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation. The grants allowed new electrical service into the middle school, as well as new circuits, suspended ceilings and lights in all the classrooms.
With all but about 10 classrooms in the Washington School District media-enabled, a program that began in 2007 with the Stewart and Lincoln additions is close to being at an end.
“With the way (the students) learn, they are on line, they are on computers, they are on their iPads tablets and phones all the time,” Clawson said. “This is the way kids are used to learning and teaching themselves. I think this is fairly conducive to learning this way.”
Washington School District technology coordinator Jeff Brock said that not every district has media-enabled classrooms, but they are becoming more common. He said that the new high school was designed with media-enabled classrooms in mind.
Brock said that when the rooms for the additions to Stewart and Lincoln were discussed, the subject of technology was first discussed. The rooms quickly became the first media-enabled rooms for the district. The district decided it needed more.
“Final completion of the project happened at the beginning of January,” Brock said. “I really feel like we met our goal with getting all the main classrooms done.”
The high school had an identical project that was completed in 2011 at a cost of $187,000. A total of 41 classrooms were completed.