Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 20, 2013

Preparing for the future

Science classes at Carroll get more elbow room

By Amie Sites for the kokomo tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — FLORA — Students sat taking notes in a classroom while their teacher wrote on the white wall. The teacher was writing next to a projected image of a computer slide. Some students took notes on their iPads.

On the other side of the classroom was a lab. The lab of the science room had desks allowing group work and stations for experiments. A television sat opposite the white wall, allowing information to be shown in multiple places in the room, no matter where the students were.

The room is just one of five revamped science rooms available to junior high and high school students at Carroll Jr.-Sr. High School. The renovations were completed before school started in August this year.

High ceilings give way to additional power outlets, ventilation and a projector that can be moved to the middle of the room.

The lab’s technology allows teachers to show digital slideshows at the front of the classroom. Multiple cameras, projection screens, sound controls and microphones have been added. Teachers will have the ability to control and send images and display them using iPads.

The new rooms work even more smoothly with the integration of one-to-one technology at the school corporation. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade received iPads at the start of this school year.

Students and teachers at Carroll Jr.-Sr. High School agree: The revamping of science rooms at the school has resulted in additional space for lab activity, presentations and the use of technology.

Four existing rooms at the high school were converted to make two larger rooms and an additional room was added. Only one of the renovated science rooms does not have a lab.

A camera in the classroom can project information onto a television, white wall or screen, said Angela Moreman, principal at Carroll Jr.-Sr. High School.

“Students need to be prepared for careers in the future,” Moreman said. “Technology increases student engagement, which increases student learning.”

Several students said they enjoy being able to see the information displayed. It allows them not to be crowded around one table.

Melissa Keown’s class has been growing duckweed and checking the population in the new lab area. Keown, who has been able to try out different labs because of the added space, has enjoyed the room.

“We’re back in the lab at least once a week,” Keown said. “It’s been a busy school year so far.”

A student in her class, Macy Wright, likes the layout of the room.

“You can see everything,” Wright said. “It’s out in the open.”

The classroom also allows more hands-on activities.

“It has added to the curriculum,” Keown said. “We can move around, work in groups and have more freedom.”

Doug Danforth, a chemistry teacher, said the space has been a great addition. Danforth said he is able to have students move around without an issue.

“We were constricted in the prior room,” Danforth said “It wasn’t feasible when doing demos.”

Students also like the added space. The space allows for more lab opportunity, student Brandi DeBoard said.

“We get a lot of hands-on experience,” said DeBoard.

Macy Willoughby, another student, said she likes how the renovations are “high tech.”

Ian Shell, agreeing with Willoughby, also likes the technology.

Another student, Jacob Marley, said his favorite part was the being able to see the “board” regardless of where he sat.

“We don’t all have to sit in one spot,” Marley said. “We can see it on the wall or a TV.”

Because of the size, some teachers, like Makay Adams, said they don’t notice the noise level as much anymore.

Adams used technology in her classroom prior to the new science rooms.

Keown said the science rooms and technology allow students to prepare for life after high school.

“As a parent of a student in college who first struggled when having to turn in everything online, I know how important this is to prepare students,” Keown said. “Our kids are required now to work with technology they will be expected to use later. They need that background experience.”

Overall, the classrooms allow for students to be better prepared for the future, Moreman said.

“Students are able to go more in depth and have exploration aspects in the classroom,” Moreman said. “It allows for more collaboration and a deeper learning opportunity.”

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or amie.sites@pharostribune.com. Follow her: @PharosAES.