Dist. 205 teachers, students prepare for new technology - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Dist. 205 teachers, students prepare for new technology

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A couple Rockford public schools start from scratch this fall, amping up technology, and changing the way students learn.

Music playing, singing, and dancing might not be how you remember learning about the three phases of matter, but it's just one of the ways District #205 is changing up the traditional classroom setting, thanks to a partnership with Discovery Education, a branch of the Discovery Network. Soon, some Rockford students will replace textbook excerpts, with song lyrics and dance moves.

"It's really about creating a really engaged, exciting way to learn." -says RPS #205 Improvement & Innovation Dept. Exec. Director Travis Woulfe.

Today's 'Day of Discovery' gave students, teachers, and parents, from all over the district, a firsthand look at digital media and technology that Gregory & Lathrop Elementary Schools will try out this year. One of the program's new features will be the usage of live-streaming video.

"To use the applications of the live-streaming, you can really bring it home for the kids. To see this happening right now and then to tie that in with your curriculum is absolutely huge, because you're bringing reality, from their world, into the classroom, and that's going to be a great hook for them to learn." -says CICS 5th grade teacher John Elbers.

While students check out iPads and laptops, Discovery Education reps give teachers tips on how to incorporate the program into their curriculums, like how to make the switch from textbooks, to tech books.

"Rather than reading about a shark and looking a stationary picture; sharks come to life, and then you can read about it." -adds Woulfe.

One 7th grader says using computers and watching videos makes learning fun.

"I took a test, and it gave me three questions, and if I got a question right, it would let me play a game to prove that I was right, and that I get a reward for being right." -says Eisenhower Middle School 7th grader Madeline Roth.

Kids and adults attending the Day of Discovery got a special treat at the beginning, Reed Timmer from Discovery Channel's hit show 'Storm Chasers' made an appearance, talking about his experience tracking down tornados on TV.

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