November 30, 2010
Amarillo—There’s one less item on the annual budget for St. Joseph’s School these days.
The once-needed staple of classrooms has given way to modern technology, with the school now utilizing Mobi Boards and Immediate Response Clickers. Immediate Response clickers are like remote controls that give immediate feedback to the teacher, according to St. Joseph’s principal Angi Seidenberger.
“A Mobi is a pad that in a sense makes your computer mobile so that you can walk around the room while presenting a lesson,” she said. “You can also hand the Mobi board to a student to interact with or the student has the option to work on the board with what is projected.
“The clickers communicate with the Mobi board so the teacher knows who has answered, how they have answered and who catches the concept. Students can also come in and put their homework answers in with the clickers so the teacher has immediate feedback of whether the class caught the concept that was presented the day before and if the concept needs to be re-taught or if they can move on to build further on the concept.”
Students are having fun with the new technology.
“They’re fun to work with because you don’t have to write your answers down,” said fifth-grade student C.J. Hernandez. “It works like a TV remote and it makes learning fun.”
Fifth grade teacher Father John Ohlig served as the tester for the technology.
“The students are more engaged and love the technology,” he said. “It’s a more natural learning environment for students in this day and age.”
Seidenberger said the Mobi’s are in all classrooms in kindergarten through fifth grade and will soon be in two more classrooms, with all the classrooms eventually utilizing the technology by the end of the school year.
“The Mobi uses the computer to charge and the clickers use two AA batteries that have to be changed about once a year,” she said. “Technology is infinitely evolving and we will always access and make decisions based on what is appropriate in the classrooms and what will be most beneficial to our students. And of course if God is willing and provides…
“The students catch on fast and sometimes tell the teachers what certain buttons do. The first year something is new is hard on the teachers because it challenges them to grow and get out of their comfort zone. I was lucky to have all of my staff onboard and excited about the Mobi’s and clickers and they’re slowly learning all of the awesome things they can do with this technology in the classroom. This year is uphill and next year will be downhill and running with our new technology.”
The school has also added another futuristic feature, this one having to do with the ergonomics in classrooms, according to Seidenberger.
“We expect our students to sit in hard chairs all day long while we as adults do not have hard chairs at our desks,” she said. “Something is not quite right when we require our young students to sit in something we as more disciplined adults have a hard time doing. Ergonomics has not been given much thought in the classrooms and research has shown how advantageous stability balls can be when used as a chair.”
First grade student Hunter Domzlaski likes the new chairs.
“It’s good for your spine and it support’s your back a lot,” he said. “It’s like you’re sitting on air.”
When given the option to sit on a normal chair or ball chair, it’s an easy choice “Oh, the ball chair all the time.”
“I feel that the wittfitt ball chairs have been a successful implementation in my classroom,” said first grade teacher Jacque Portillo. “The children are more attentive and I don’t have the ‘wiggle’ problem I’ve had in the past. Along with the advanced technology, my classroom runs smoother each day.”
Ball chairs were an optional school supply item for parents this year, according to Seidenberger.
“The balls travel with them as they graduate to a different grade,” she said. “In second grade, it’s time to start looking at the larger ball which can grow with them until they graduate fifth grade.”
Over 70% of the students have the ball chairs in grades K-5, according to Seidenberger.