Next fall, science classes at South Effingham High School will offer more interactive student and teacher participation than in the past thanks to a grant from the Planters Telephone Foundation. According to SEHS Media Specialist Carolyn Kessler, the grant will pay to outfit three classrooms with interactive boards called SchoolPad, software to operate them, ceiling-mounted projectors, quality projection screens, and complete installation for the three classrooms.
Kessler, who wrote and submitted the grant request, said, “I have worked closely with our science department to provide the tools they and their students need to be successful. Last year we ordered two electronic science databases that would give students greater access to “peer-reviewed” articles that are required when doing Science Fair projects or any type of in depth research.”
Kessler added that she knew there were really good video clips on Unitedstreaming.com that were going unnoticed because the teachers simply didn’t have daily use of a projector that enabled access to good material at the teachable moment. The SchoolPads will give them the opportunity to use this invaluable resource.
SchoolPad is a product of Interwrite. About the size of a sheet of paper, it takes the idea of a “whiteboard” one step further in that the teacher is no longer tethered to the whiteboard in the front of the classroom and no longer has to turn her back to the students to interact with the board. It works in tandem with a ceiling-mounted projector and the teacher’s computer allowing the teacher to write/draw on the SchoolPad, i.e., draw a diagram of a water cycle. By just tapping an icon, the teacher can access a streaming video clip that graphically illustrates a concept. The teacher might write an equation on the Pad and hand it to a student to solve. It comes loaded with science-related tools and graphics. All of the components of a lesson can be saved to bring back later for review or for use by a student who was absent. I haven’t even touched on the possibilities.
Planters has steadfastly adhered to the mission of ensuring that residents and businesses in our rural communities have access to the kinds of services that are readily available in more urban markets. Through the creation of the Planters Foundation in 1992, Planters annually awards scholarship funds to area students and sponsors educational and related projects. The Planters Board of Directors targets its contribution dollars to a variety of worthwhile civic and charitable causes in Screven and Effingham counties.