Mastering Computers at School FUTUREKIDS at Twin Lakes

Article excerpt

Instead of the blackboard-and-chalk routine, students at Twin Lakes Academy Elementary School are getting time to use computer software and spreadsheets to brush up on everything from math to nutrition to reading.

The program, offered by FUTUREKIDS School Technology Solutions, is designed to help students master computer skills while they are taught their basic subjects. Twin Lakes is the only Duval County public school currently using the program, which was implemented there this year.

"This is fun, and I'm learning a lot," first-grader Alexandra Melendez said on a recent day as she practiced adding and subtracting cookies using a computer program. "I think my school should keep this program."

At Twin Lakes, located at 8000 Point Meadows Drive, every student gets a chance to use the program in a computer lab one period a week.

Here's how it works:

As students are taught various themes during the school year, they learn them with help from FUTUREKIDS, a service that works to meet the specific technological needs of a school.

FUTUREKIDS provides consultations, curriculum, staff development and any other technology-related services needed based on the school's individual goals toward becoming technologically integrated.

The current nine-week theme at Twin Lakes is Nutrition and Wellness, and students have been learning about it while simultaneously sharpening their computer technology skills.

For example, as a schoolwide project, students take the fitness goals of a certain number of students and put the data into the form of a spreadsheet.

FUTUREKIDS bases its curriculum on software currently used in offices worldwide, such as Excel.

The 13-year-old business is based in Los Angeles, and its programs are used in more than 75 countries at 15,000 locations.

The service was previously used at Fort Caroline Elementary School in Arlington, and when Principal Barbara Langley and Assistant Principal Lynn Stanfield moved on to Twin Lakes, they brought it with them. …