Colorado schools closing digital divide in chase
for stimulus funds
By Jeremy P. Meyer
It was a simple lesson on counting pennies, but students in Christina Baldy's first-grade class at Cole Arts
and Science Academy were enthralled.
Seven shiny copper pennies, as big as dinner plates, were projected on an interactive whiteboard, a hot,
new classroom tool that makes the chalkboard feel as antiquated as the rotary phone.
"Subtract four cents," Baldy asked during the arithmetic lesson, offering what looked like a pen to a
student, who tapped it on the projected image and slid the coin into a virtual piggy bank — leaving three
The interactive white board is part of a technological revolution that is
changing the face of teaching and learning in the 21st century.
Today, schools hand out laptops to students, teachers access online data
portals to track student scores and the state is bringing broadband
Internet to rural schoolrooms.
"These tools are changing teaching practices," said John Canuel, director
of educational technology for Jefferson County schools.
"When we look at laptops and cellphones and these devices, most of our
students have never known a world without them or this access for
information. The challenge is teaching students to be effective users of
Schools now are laced with fiber optics, boosted with Wi-Fi and festooned with laptops. Students hold
wireless clickers that allow them to punch in responses to questions and teachers to beam video images of
textbooks from document projectors.
Baldy's classroom just received hand-held devices that look like Nintendo DS game players. She can
upload computer games related to her classroom lessons to them.
"This is definitely increasing student engagement," Baldy said. "They are just infatuated with technology.
They are just so focused on it and what is going on in the classroom."
More effective and engaged
Chemistry teachers Becca Meyer, left,
and Jodi Crutchfield work on lesson