An Apple for teacher

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – When a group of 40 Tupelo Public School District teachers received boxes containing their new MacBook Pro laptops Monday morning, they had to sit on their hands for a minute.
“They said we had to wait so that everyone in the room could open them at the same time,” said Bonnie Anderson, seventh-grade challenge teacher at Tupelo Middle School. “It felt like packages at Christmas time waiting to be opened.”
The teachers received their computers at a training session to introduce them to Apple computers. It was the first day of four weeks of teacher training that will be offered by Apple trainers.
In October, TPSD Superintendent Randy Shaver announced a plan to modernize classrooms by distributing laptops to teachers and students.
This year, THS seniors and all teachers and administrators from kindergarten to 12th grade will have Apple laptops to use. By next year, computers will be provided for all sixth to 12th-grade students.
All teachers in the district will attend one day of training, designed to make them comfortable with the new technology before students receive it.
The training provides a basic introduction to the computers and covers applications like iPhoto, iMovie and Safari.
“We’re learning the basics that can get us started in the classroom,” said Jeramy Turner, a 12th-grade U.S government and AP government teacher at Tupelo High School.
Teachers at Monday’s training said they’re eager to incorporate the new technology into their classrooms.
“Scientific information is exponentially changing,” said Sharon L. Davis, who teaches physics and physical education at Tupelo High School. “Textbooks are quickly out of date, but we’ll have access to all of the information.”
Davis said her students will be able use the camera on their computer to take a video of a moving object and then graph its motion with a computer program. They’ll also have access to free resources available on many university Web sites.
THS senior English teacher Gracie Menetre said that since every student will have a computer, she won’t need to schedule library time in order for her students to do research or write a paper. Students also can be more creative with projects, thanks to programs like iMovie and Key Note, which is similar to Power Point.
“They will do presentations in business and in college,” Menetre said. “Learning this technology now is just going to put them ahead of the game and give them an advantage.”
The computers also will change the way teachers deliver instruction, said Marrion Winders, sixth-grade science teacher at Milam Elementary. For instance, to teach a lesson about earth processes, she could download pictures of the Earth’s core and mantle and present them with her lesson.
Tupelo High School seniors will be given their computers during the week of Feb. 8. Senior parents can attend a question-and-answer session about the computers Jan. 21 at 6 p.m.
“It is a wonderful tool that helps us get it right for student engagement and real-world relevance,” said THS interim Principal Glenda Scott.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or at chris.kieffer@djournal.com.