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The first-grade team at Central Elementary in Valparaiso sees technology usage in the classroom as a very important aspect for these 21st century learners.

Jenny Arledge said, “Technology can become the 'wings' that will allow the educational world to fly farther and faster than ever before — if we allow it.”

Technology is used daily to help enhance learning and to make acquiring knowledge more fun and engaging for our students. It is very important for us to get these kids comfortably acquainted with any device ranging from iPads, to Google Chromebooks, laptops, and iPods. Students are given ample time to practice and explore with all of the technology available to them at Central Elementary.

At Central we have always valued using technology in the classroom at all grade levels and we have worked hard to provide devices for the students to use. All classrooms have access to iPod carts, laptop carts, Netbook carts, Chromebook carts, and iPads.

All teachers in grades 3-5 in the district have a Chromebook cart for their classroom for students to use daily. All second-grade classrooms and specials classes in the district have mini iPad carts in their classroom for daily use as well. Our first-graders, or firsties, at Central are fortunate enough to have a Chromebook cart to share between the two classrooms as well as 15 iPads in each classroom. All students use technology on a daily basis in all subject areas.

Valparaiso Community Schools has adopted many programs that are wonderful and easy to use for all grade levels. Subjects are enhanced by these programs and activities. Central firsties use activities such as phonics practice, typing practice, vocabulary work, math facts, reading comprehension, and making iMovies to show our understanding.

Students also have time to play educational games after their work to help them become more acclimated with technology. A first-grader at Central, Glori Liu said, “The games we play are educational and fun to do every day.”

Our future depends on these kids being creative, familiar and comfortable using many devices in different ways. Starting early is important. It is our duty in the schools for these students to be prepared for their future. It is necessary and the reality of our world today in order for our students to become global citizens.

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