After a brief moment of silence to contemplate, Mona Jain Middle School sixth grade students erupted as they answered online quiz questions in a game presented during their science class.
They had to either click on their answer with a mouse or tap with their finger on their laptop screens.
With a large monitor connected to the four laptops resting on each of the five lab tables in the classroom, students were able to see if the answer they submitted was correct without squinting at the front of the room. They could also see a running score of how all the students were doing.
The laptops and monitors are just a few pieces of the new technology that provide opportunities to enhance students’ educational experiences at Mona Jain Middle School.
“I feel honored to open a middle school and be the only one in our district right now that has this type of setup for the science teachers and the science students,” Principal Angela Lindsey said.
With the setup, science teacher Dawn Reilly is able to take students’ work from their laptops and flash them on the monitors to share with the rest of the class. She can also see each student’s screen for safety and security.
“I call it state-of-the-art [technology],” Reilly said. “It really is. It allows for more creativity, quicker sharing. They don’t have to wait.”
Sixth grader Layla Larrick, 11, said the monitors and laptops make learning easier because she’s more of a visual than auditory learner.
Reilly said she’s having fun discovering the different opportunities the new technology can provide in her classroom.
“I get in here two hours early because I want to see what I can do,” she said.
Reilly noticed lessons were going “a lot faster” because of the new equipment, so she will be able to do more her with her classes.
Hanging from the ceiling in the science classrooms are retractable electrical outlets. If students need to plug in laptops or other classrooms items, they can pull the outlet down to the table, so there aren’t cords on the floor.
Besides the science rooms sporting the new technology, another technology classroom will use 3D modeling, video game design, computer programming software and more. Throughout the school, other equipment includes a laser engraver, a Computer Numerical Control machine, a 3D printer and shop tools. School District of Manatee County Chief Technology Officer Scott Hansen said the technology throughout the school cost a total of about $600,000.
The students will have access to a universal robot, which technology teacher Adam Nowicki said has “real-world applications” and brings robotics to another level.
Eighth grader Austin Bankuty said it’s “neat and cool” to be able to use new technology at school and he feels privileged.
Nowicki said that learning different types of machinery can “ignite that flame, that passion for learning” as they might discover new interests in class or possible careers.
Seventh grader Matthew Brown said he’s looking forward to coding and using the CNC machine.
Sixth grader Braelyn Fletcher, 11, said using the new technology will help in the future because “a lot of things are going to be based on technology.”