Culler Middle School Combines Tradition with Technology

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LINCOLN, Neb.-- For some parents, it can be difficult to keep up with their student's math lessons. But as of August 2014, Culler Middle School parents should feel a sense of relief because there is help. The answer, technology.

New this fall, Culler Middle School math students are provided with a Lenovo tablet to use in class, then take home for homework. It's called GoMath. It's the first of its kind to hit the Lincoln Public School District, a pilot program that combines technology with their current methods of learning. With it, school officials hope to engage students to information that is beyond the classroom.

"It's not trying to make anything obsolete," said instruction technology coordinator, Tim Hahn. "Paper, hand writing, books are still relevant to the program. This is an enhancement."

As a former teacher, Hahn's challenge is to link the traditional books with technology, and better prepare students for the future.

"Learning takes place anywhere at any time," Hahn said. "Having a device makes it possible to have access to information and connections."

Hahn said if students have questions, they can access information from videos using the tablet.

The tablet and its programs will allow students to open their learning curves.

In addition to math, Instructional Technology Coach, Danae Peterson, said teachers can now take reading material and customize it to each students level. This will allow the same material to be comprehended by students and encourage engaging conversations.

"Students can move through at their own pace," said Peterson.

The tablets are a part of a larger push for technology in the classrooms. The total costs of student devices is approximately $364,000. The numbers are broken down: each student device is $560 and there are 650 students at Culler Middle School.

School officials will derive the data from the devices and find out what works and what does not. The ultimate goal is to integrate the program so the entire district will be able to learn from the tablets and other technological devices.

"They will teach us a lot of what we don't know," said Culler Middle School principal, Gary Czapla. "[Students] can be leaders and help the district and community embrace technology and advance us as a community."

Parents of those attending Culler Middle School will have resources to help guide them through the device. To determine what makes this pilot successful, Hahn said they will have to compare test scores before and after students get the tablet, if students are more engaged in the classroom because of the device, and whether students and teachers are proficient using the device.