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      Classrooms explore new learning options

      Some schools in Delta County are enhancing student learning through technology.

      In Mrs. Austin's class, third graders are using an interactive approach to learning. From doing reading and math assignments on the computer, to now taking vocabulary words from pencil and paper to a presentation, kids are excited. "Sometimes words don't explain everything," said third grader Lilly Karl. "Sometimes you have to look at a picture to actually know what its definition actually means." Students go over ten to twenty words, the definition, pictures and videos to reinforce what it means. Then in pairs they come up with a sentence using that word. "I think kids of today are involved in so many screens. I think it's just another tool that excites kids," said teacher Peggy Austin. "I've noticed a remarkable improvement in vocabulary scores and vocabulary usage." We're not only seeing interactive improvements in lower grade levels, but also in local high schools, to help students prepare for college. At Escanaba High School, juniors now have an option to take their government and economics class online. They are able to work at their own pace to meet their deadlines but still have the benefit of having their instructor at school for any questions. "It's really easy to get in trouble with deadlines and such, but it kind of makes you more responsible for it," said high school student Blake Hereau. "And I think it's fun, too, because we interact online with everyone, so this is different I guess." Online classes give them an opportunity to add an additional course at school, according to school officials. "An elective class or an extra music class, a few of them are doing that, or a wood class," said instructor Phil Lynch. "Two-thirds of them, they are real high level kids and they wanted to take more of an advanced placement class, which we offer." School administrators say enhancements in technology in Delta County are making schools better.