Fenton Students Turn Basic Lessons into High-Tech Learning

Article excerpt

Byline: Christy Gutowski Daily Herald Staff Writer

Mike Schuffert certainly had his work cut out for him.

Like all teachers, the Fenton High School educator wanted students in his science class to hang on his every word.

But when your words are "phylum" and "species," it's not always easy to captivate an audience.

So Schuffert turned to technology. He challenged students to put together class presentations using the school's new multimedia computers and software.

One problem arose, though.

Schuffert found he was spending more time teaching students how to use the software than he was teaching them about phyla.

So, last semester, during his free period, he launched a training program. Students in third period study halls get pulled out to learn the ropes. The idea, he said, is to have those students train other students, and even teachers, how to make multimedia presentations.

"This is the latest thing being used in business today," Schuffert said. "And it's giving students a great opportunity to learn about all the resources that are available to them here."

Gone are the days of using colored markers, paste and poster board to contrast the leadership styles of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Today's oral reports have gone high-tech.

Students can scan photos into a digital format. The images then can be manipulated into any color, size or shape.

They can infuse music into their presentations, using compact discs, records, tapes or even their own recorded voice by simply plugging a microphone into the computer.

And, they can pull information from encyclopedias, the Internet, newspapers and magazines with a few simple strokes on their keyboard.

Then their projects can be saved on disk. And, on the big day their presentations are due, students can wheel one of the school's 15 mobile multimedia computers into their classroom and use a special projector to cast the computer images onto a bigger screen for the whole class to view. …