Onekama Consolidated School students take part in
AT&T MACUL Technology Showcase

Posted by Ken Grabowski, Manistee News Advocate
LANSING — Sometimes seeing is believing.

The things students can do with technology is amazing and that point was well proven this year when four seventh grade students from Onekama Consolidated Schools had the opportunity to display their talents at the 12th Annual AT&T/MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) Technology Showcase at the rotunda in the state capitol in Lansing.

Teachers Nikki Torrey and Naomi Kolehmainen accompanied students Jeremiah Torrey, Caleb McWain, Zoe Morley, Marissa Stebbins where they joined other students from around the state in putting on presentations.

“We have been taking students about 10 years to this showcase,” Torrey said. "This year the students did a presentation called “It’s All About Me” in which they used technology to create a biography about their lives. They students did it in an innovative way, using slides and filled in the details of what they like, dislike and where they want to go with their life.

“We took our presentations all about us down there,” said Jeremiah Torrey. “What we did in the presentations was to tell about what we do in school like if we play sports, what our activities are that we take part in and about the things we are good or not good in doing.”

McWain said they utilized the technology of Google Drive to create their presentation. It all came out of Kolehmainen’s class where the students have the theme each month that they use to create a project. In the month of September it was the “It’s All About Me.”

“It took us about two weeks to create it,” said McWain.

Students also had the opportunity to exchange ideas with the people who attended the showcase. There were 32 schools from all over the state who took part in the showcase this year, as well as officials from MACUL. It was a good opportunity not only to see what other schools are doing with technology, but to share some ideas.

Each year MACUL does this program that is underwritten by AT&T. The demonstration this year featured a wide variety of uses of technology in the classroom such as students using iPads to show how student-created QR codes are used in library scavenger hunts; a Jeopardy-type game students developed to reinforce core subject matter; videos to encourage students to excel in math and one group of kindergartners showed how they blog using classblogmaster software.

Onekama students said that during the demonstration portion of the showcase they had many people view their exhibit.

“We showed our display to the president of MACUL and their board of directors,” said Jeremiah Torrey. “There were also lots of students and teachers from all around Michigan.”

The students put together between 12 and 19 slides on themselves that they showed in the presentation. All of them agreed they would do it again and that it was a very positive experience.

“They asked us questions and said it was cool,” said McWain. “They also asked us what other types of technology we had in the classroom.”

Fellow student presenter Morley agreed saying she would go back again if given the opportunity.

“It was fun,” said Morley.

Torrey explained that the students have computers in their science and geography classes and they have smart boards in all of their classrooms throughout the day. There also some iPads that they use, but only in a limited capacity.

“They also have the documented camera,” said Torrey. “So, they use technology quite a bit. We have staff members that go to MACUL every year.

“The people at MACUL are very good to us. They contacted us again this year to ask if we have anyone who would like to do a presentation. Our seventh graders did a really neat project, so I can see us going again.”

Torrey pointed out that they always have to know early in the school year what they want to showcase. There are so many good things taking place within the district with technology it can be difficult at times deciding what they want to showcase.

“Naomi just happened to be at lunch talking about how neat the presentations were and how many fun things they had come up with, so we asked her if she wanted to go this year,” said Torrey. “Last year, I went with the iPads that we got for the first time. So, it just depends about what type of project we are working on at that time.”

She pointed out that the students are extremely creative in what they can accomplish with the technology.

“If you give these guys anything they can make something really neat with it,” said Torrey. “They can make up a lot of their own things.”

When it comes to what today’s students can do with technology, seeing really is believing and at Onekama Schools they proved it at the AT&T/MACUL Technology Showcase.

Onekama Consolidated Schools
Session: at 11:30
Teachers: Naomi Kolehmainen
     and Nicole Torrey
Students: Caleb McWain,
    Jeremiah Torrey, Zoe Morley
    and Marissa Stebbins

Jeremiah Torrey

I think that technology in classrooms helps students to achieve more for their classes such as getting caught up in classes that they might have missed.
      I think that the smart board is the most helpful piece of technology in the class that we have because it helps the teachers show the students things that could not have been.
       The technology use in my classes help me learn more by using some of things on the internet that can help me such as Google. Google helps with  a faster way to get some help if needed in class.
In class I use technology for presentations such as the one for Mrs. K that is here today for you to look at.
       I think some of the benefits of technology in the classroom is we can now work independently on computers for a paper, or for a presentation, or even an assignment that is posted on a website. The only negatives I can think of is some people might go on games, but most gaming sites are blocked at our school so it pretty much prevents that.

Marissa Stebbins      

       How I feel about technology in the classrooms is I think it’s nice to have it because if we didn’t have it a lot of things wouldn't get done in school.
       The forms of technology that I like to use are laptops because I like to type things and on an iPad and smart board I can’t type like I do on a laptop.
       I use technology in the class room for learning. The benefits of technology in the class room are that we can learn from it.
       The negatives of technology in the class room are that it can distract people. When they are on a laptop or computer and they know that they can get on games and stuff, it can distract them from the work they are supposed to do.  Technology can distract me some when I am in school because I know that I can get music with it and so it can be distracting.

Zoe Morley

I think that technology has some ups and downs.  I love the smart boards!!! I think that they are great to use in a classroom.  I also think that i-pads are really great. I believe that they help all ages learn better.  We use technology in the classroom by going to educational sites and Moodle.  Technology affects me when half of my class is doing homework and the other half is on the computers. I think that computers are not the best in my opinion. 
    The benefits of having technology in the classroom is great because if your working on a paper you can save it and not lose it, rather than writing a paper and probably lose it if you  are not organized. The negatives in the classroom are they can be distracting.

Caleb McWain

I think technology in classrooms is good because it's faster to work with and easier.  I like Laptops best because I have used laptops more then computer labs, smart boards, iPads, etc.
       It can affect me by distracting me from doing some work but I usually get my work done.  I use technology in both an educational way and video game way.
       The benefits of technology in a classroom are you can look up educational stuff to do an a assignment or to help a student learn.
       Some negatives for technology in a classroom are it can distract a student from doing his or her work or a student can look up inappropriate things online.

Onekama Middle School Index
for 2012-2013


Posted by Ken Grabowski,
Manistee News Advocate on-line