Students Describe Technology Program to School Board

An East Derry Memorial School kindergarten student couldn’t hide his excitement about Google Chrome or some of the programs he uses. “I love Google Chrome!” he told computer teacher Linda Reinelt and the Derry School Board last week. If any of them came to his classroom, he promised solemnly, “I’ll show you how to get on.” 

Reinelt enlisted several of her most enthusiastic tech users for East Derry Memorial Elementary School’s presentation to the School Board at its March 25 meeting. The children showed the adults what they can do with technology and even showed them how.

It has been a busy year, Reinelt told the board and television audience. She has been piloting the National Educational Technology Strategies, or NETS, she said, adding, “It’s very kid-friendly.”

The standards include a number of “I can” statements, including:

 “I can share original art”

 “I can find something on a Web site”

 “I can solve it”

 “I can protect it” (a piece on “digital citizenship”)

 “I can use it” and

 “I can make it.”

For the first time, Reinelt said, the district is using Google Drive, gmail, Google Docs and Google Safe Search for Kids.

She’s especially enthusiastic about Google Drive, which allows a child to create a document at school and go home and work on it more. “Before, they were only able to access their documents in the computer lab,” she said.

The students are excited to have their own gmail accounts, which are restricted to the school community, Reinelt and Superintendent Laura Nelson said.

Reinelt said she emphasizes safety with the East Derry students. “We talk a lot about cyber bullying,” she said, “and I tell them, ‘Don’t hit the send button unless it’s something you’d send to your grandmother.’”

The school’s computer lab has Apple computers that were installed two years ago, “making us up to speed so our kids can compete in the real world,” Reinelt said.

The newest addition to the tech toolbox is the Samsung Chromebook. “We have a cart with 20 Chromebooks on it,” Reinelt said. “Teachers can check them out. They can use them for interventions, to give extra math practice or reinforce learning.”

A third-grader joined Reinelt at the desk and read some of the skills she’s been learning, including more “I can” statements: “I can protect my password” and “I can take care of my school’s technology equipment.”

And a young boy reinforced the safety rules. “I can get permission,” he read, and, “I can leave if I feel uncomfortable.”

In addition to the national standards, Reinelt has what she calls her “travel rules:” “Ask a parent or teacher, only talk to people you know, and stick to places that are right for you.”

Other students talked about what they were learning at their various grade levels.