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Da Vinci students show off technology skills to lawmakers
Da Vinci Academy sixth-grader Konstantin Keller, 11, on Tuesday documents his school’s visit to the state Capitol in Atlanta for technology day. Students from schools across the state visited the Capitol to show legislators how they have been using technology in the classroom. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

ATLANTA — If seeing is believing, some local students presented a good case Tuesday at the Capitol in Atlanta for the use of technology in the classrooms.

Hall County students from the Da Vinci Academy were invited to participate in the Capitol Tech Day, an annual event where select schools are able to demonstrate how technology improves the overall learning experience for students by taking things that they are interested in to teach all subjects.

“Having technology in the classroom has made everything a lot more interesting and engaging,” said Logan Allen, a Da Vinci seventh-grader.

During the event, Allen explained to legislators and other attendees how he used Geographic Information System technology to create a map illustrating how well students in each area of the county performed on the Criterion-Refrenced Competency Tests.

“Maps are a good way of giving information out, so that people can form their own conclusions,” Allen said.

The Da Vinci students were one of 13 participating schools; Shiloh Point Elementary School students from Forsyth County also were there.

In addition to using mapping programs to build math, science and social studies skills and creating in-depth Web sites, Da Vinci students also showcased how they’ve been using special programs on iPods to take quizzes and provide lesson feedback to their teachers.

“(ResponseWare) can be added on to a PowerPoint presentation to make it interactive. The teacher can add questions to the slides, and we can use the iPods to give our answers,” said Brooke Balenger, a Da Vinci seventh-grader.

“We can see on our (personal) screen how many people selected each answer and the teacher can see our anonymous answers. (The teacher) can then use that information to see what areas we are having problems with, so that we can go over that section more.”

Kathy Cox, state superintendent of schools, was on hand to review the classroom technology that each of the schools were sharing.

“(Technology in the classrooms) needs to be supported by this state and by this state assembly,” Cox said.

“It has been a long time since the legislators were students, or since many of them have had kids in school This is an opportunity to show them that when technology is put in the right hands and used right, it is a fabulous thing.”

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