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Student show off computer skills at world conference
Mary Quinn Mills demonstrates the projects to an attendee.

“The students we have today are just technology natives.”

This idea is why students from Chestnut Mountain Creative School of Inquiry attended the International Society for Technology in Education conference, teacher Richard Bass said

“They know how to use it, and they almost rely on it to learn,” he said. “So one of the things we look (at) is, ‘How are some creative ways ... we can use technology to help students learn?’”

The school’s mission is what sets it apart as a “CSI” school. He said the teachers felt the conference was important so the students could see how other people around the nation and the world use video to teach.

“They really look at how to incorporate technology into the classroom, different technologies, different equipment,” Bass said. “Then they have a student showcase section, where students from all over the world can come in and demonstrate how they’re using that technology in the classroom.”

Since there were so many schools represented not only from the United States, but from various other countries, getting in the door of the conference was half the challenge.'

“There’s only so many slots every year,” Bass said. “So it’s an honor for the kids to go and present at this conference.”

Due to the high volume of applicants, the acceptance rate of is about 45 percent.

“Roughly, it’s about maybe 15,000 to 20,000 educators there,” he said.

A selection process was conducted within the school as well to decide which students would qualify to go to the San Diego, Calif., conference.

“We looked at the kids for the year that were interested in learning how to do the green screen technology and programs,” he said. “So we selected just six kids from all the classrooms to go.”

Bass said although he and another teacher from the school, Tom Wandrum, were with the students, they simply watched the children work.

“Me and Mr. Wandrum, we were more of chaperones,” he said. “They set it up, they went and grabbed people to come look at their booth. We had a lot of response from people who saw us there.”

He said it was rewarding to see the hard work and accomplishments displayed by the six children using the technology.

“It was great to see the kids do all the presenting and the knowledge they had about green screen technology,” he said.

Since discovering all the ways the school’s technology can help them learn, the children have a new appreciation for it, Bass said, and they spread the word to their classmates. He said both teachers and classmates enjoyed the ability to pick a customized background to teach on with any picture they want, which is transmitted onto a green screen.

Although it takes around three days to complete these green screen videos, the children were ready and willing to create them, he said.

“Now that they know about it, we have kids that (are) begging to do tutorial videos,” he said. “Kids are now using it for doing book reports. Instead of writing book reports, they do video book reports. (They are) just using the technology that we have in different ways, and teachers are using them in different ways.”