Inside the changing classroom: From chalk boards to smart boards - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

Inside the changing classroom: From chalk boards to smart boards


Have you ever heard of a glog? What about an animoto? While they might not sound familiar to you, chances are your children are using them. Technology is changing the way students learn and how teachers interact with them.

Welcome to Laurie Hansen's 66th grade class at Washington School in Stevens Point.

"At your computers if you could silently do a full shut down and everyone come over to the smart board," Hansen announces to the class as she moves from one subject to the next.

As you can tell, her classroom isn't traditional.

In here, instead of chalk boards, there are smart boards.

"Look over here to the distance of this star," Hansen says as she moves her computer mouse to locate information, instead of flipping pages in a textbook.

Here, the students are also teachers.

"I need to be comfortable enough with the learning process to say, let's go and learn this together," Hansen said.

Hansen started teaching in the 1980s.

"There's been a complete transformation as far as what my classroom looks like."

In 2010 a law was passed implementing mandatory use of technology in schools nationwide. It means every classroom has to incorporate some form of technology into the lesson plan.

"Because of technology there's so much more students can do to investigate questions," Hansen explained.

As those history books you might remember now pile up on shelves collecting dust. Many wonder what is now lost? Teachers say, not much.

"Even if things don't work, technology fails us, something goes wrong, it's always an opportunity for learning and that's the main point," Hansen said. "For example, one of my students asked a question, he was able to ask it, go out on the web and search for deeper meaning. That's going to make his learning better."

Students agree. Jake Minch, a 6th grader in Mrs. Hansen's class says he learns more when using the computer.

"You don't get it just using a piece of paper for a project, you get it when you do it on the computer," Minch explained.

Digital learning has also expanded outside the classroom. Teachers at Washington School say most homework assignments require the use of a computer.

"Students are teaching their parents, making them realize it's not like their 6th grade classroom," Hansen said.

But educators realize not every student has access to these tools. Officials say they accommodate students who don't have the technology at home by offering extra computer time or allowing them to sign out the necessary technology.

"Technology equalizes students," Hansen explained.

So while her classroom may not look like you remember with the smart board, and laptops, school officials say it's the way the world is changing; a world where students become the teachers and parents just try to keep up.

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