By: Jordan Mueller
The St. Johns Board of Education recognized the importance of integrating technology into the curriculum by inviting students to showcase their computer skills at Monday’s school board meeting.
Eight seventh and eighth-grade students from St. Johns Middle School demonstrated their knowledge of a wide range of computer programs they had been introduced to in Renee Jorae’s technology courses at the board meeting. The group had previously presented their new skills at the Michigan Association for Computer Users Student Technology Showcase in Lansing.
“I was able to select a team of students to share their skills in technology,” said Jorae regarding the students chosen to attend the meeting.
Board President, Bill Tennant, said the district realized that it was lagging behind in technology. Tennant said the board addressed this by passing a bond project in 2010 where several funds were designated to improving technology in the schools.
“We knew we were lacking in technology and needed to do something in that area, so now we are in our second year of incorporating a lot of technology,” said Tennant. “I’ve been into several classrooms watching the teachers and students interact with our technology and it’s amazing what’s going on.”
The school board and school district said they are aware that St. Johns is stepping into a place where few other schools have been.
“I have seen very few districts that have really integrated technology into the classrooms,” said Jorae. “Most public schools are in the process of trying to figure out how to integrate and incorporate technology.”
Board Treasurer, Rick Drabek, said he was very impressed with the students’ presentation and believes the district is heading in the right direction.
“Seeing the students and the excitement that was out there got me excited,” said Drabek. “They like their devices and I value where our committee is going with technology.”
Nick Koenigsknecht, Board Secretary, said he also appreciates the integration of technology into the daily curriculum.
“It sounded like the students had a lot of freedom to explore, which is great to see,” said Koenigskencht. “Growth is what’s really important.”
John Morse, father of student Jack Morse, said he was able to attend the MACUL Student Technology Showcase and the school board meeting. Morse is an electrical engineer for General Motors and said he encourages the use of technology with his own children in the hope that it will carry over into the schools.
“I was there for both presentations and they did a great job,” said Morse. “It was interesting to see how the school helped them prepare. I think the school district is making great strides to try to make technology a real daily tool for these kids to use.”
Sheri Menard, mother of student Andrew Menard, attended the school board meeting and echoed Morse’s thoughts that the school district is doing an outstanding job in preparing children for the future.
“Mrs. Jorae is teaching the kids to live in a paperless world,” said Menard. “That’s the way it is going to be.”