Improving education one robot at a time

By Tess Malijenovsky
Students and teachers from every public school in Beaufort County are gathering Thursday, Feb. 23 at 6 p.m. at Pritchardville Elementary School for a special districtwide showcase on the cutting-edge classroom technology that’s improving student learning.
According to Cory Tressler, the school district’s Director of Virtual Learning, students as young as kindergarten age are now using robotics to learn computer programming, math, science and basic engineering skills.
“These students grew up using this new technology, so they aren’t intimidated the way adults can be,” Tressler said.  “To them, these are just tools that are part of their everyday learning.”
Thursday night will include an Elementary Lego Education Robotics Challenge where 11 elementary students will show off the abilities of the robots they’ve built and programmed. It’s also the official launch of the school district’s “Virtual Library,” an online resource designed to give students and educators web-based access to eBooks and audio books purchased by the district for use on laptop computers, tablets, eBook readers and smartphones.
In each classroom different district schools will spotlight some of the ways that they’re using technology to improve student learning. Demonstrations will range from student videos and presentations to student demonstrations of engineering software used to building houses and bridges. At least two district high schools — Battery Creek High and Hilton Head High — will showcase their high-tech student robotics efforts.
“School technology supports effective classroom learning the same way that medical technology supports effective health care and financial technology supports effective business systems,” said Superintendent Valerie Truesdale.

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