February 6, 2013

Embracing technology

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

Technology has changed the face of doing business, conducting personal affairs, not to mention drilling for Shale oil in the Bakken. And 13 years into the new millennium, it is nowhere near slowing down.
In light of this fact, Watford City High School has decided to swim with the technological current, realizing that in all likelihood, technology will start changing the face of education as well.
As part of its desire to embrace new technology, Watford City High School purchased 30 iPads, and used them to transform its Regional Geography class into an all-digital classroom.
“There are no pens or paper in here,” states Regional Geography teacher Eric Krogen. “Paper was only used once in here, and it was on the first day of class when I handed out the syllabus.”
Since then, Krogen has been able to implement the use of iPads throughout the educational process.
According to Krogen, all student notes are available through the iBook app and students have the ability to complete their assignments online through the school website or other educational apps. Additionally, students have the ability to research discussion topics during the class lecture time and share what they find with the whole class through other in-class media tools.
“If a student has a question, or if I ask a question, the students can look up the answers right then and there,” states Krogen. “It makes the classroom more flexible and puts the learning process on the students.”
Krogen has even been able to implement iPad use in his other classes as well.
“It makes the kids more interactive in class, rather than just listening to me for 50 minutes,” states Krogen.
Not only that, Krogen states that a lot of his students already own and operate personal smart devices and are therefore comfortable and familiar with them.
“We felt that trying to progress with technology and working with a learning environment that students are already accustomed to seemed like a natural fit,” states Steve Holen, McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 superintendent. “A lot of districts are looking into this form of teaching and it could begin to change what education in a classroom looks like. It is important to evolve with the times and at the same time meet the student’s level of engagement with technology.”
Three of Krogen’s Geography students, Talyia Gironda, Keenen Celander and Gregory Kleppen, couldn’t agree more. They not only enjoy the use of the iPad in class, but admit that they have each enjoyed taking advantage of doing class assignments and accessing class notes through their personal devices.
“It’s really convenient,” states Kleppen. “We don’t have to bring anything to class, because we don’t use a pen and paper and we use the iPads in class.”
“It’s easier to find information on what you’re working on and it makes doing homework fun,” states Gironda.
It is as simple as teaching kids for the future for Krogen.
“Technology is always advancing, so it would be a good idea to help prepare them for the future by using the tools they will be using,” states Krogen. “If we are going to teach kids for the 21st century, we need to be using 21st century tools.”