Area teachers and staff travelled to three Calcasieu Parish schools on Thursday to get a first-hand look at how technology is being integrated within a wide range of disciplines.

The tour was part of the annual Technology Showcase hosted by the Calcasieu School Board’s Technology Department. Stops included Dolby Elementary School, S.J. Welsh Middle School and Bell City High School.

Apps, iPads, Bluetooth and more are no longer just reserved for down-time at home. The technology available to teachers and students ensures they are up to date with the latest trends. The ultimate aim is advancing education.

“It bridges that gap,” said Eunice Campbell, master teacher at J.D. Clifton Elementary School. “These are kids who grew up with smartphones. Some of them didn’t use paper and pencil until they got to school. This uses what they’re accustomed to, embraces it and brings it all together in one place.”

Kasie Smith, computer lab teacher at S.P. Arnett Middle School, said it’s rare to see what other classrooms across the parish are doing.

“It’s definitely refreshing to get out of your bubble and connect with other teachers who may be teaching the same standard as you, but have a totally different approach to it,” she said.

Shelly Ellender, S.P. Arnett librarian, agreed, saying the experience is especially helpful to her as a resource to all teachers and students on the middle school’s campus.

“As a librarian, it’s assumed we have all the answers,” she said.” But that’s not always true. Visits like this are necessary to make sure we’re staying informed of what all is out there. How else can we keep our campuses up to date?”

At Dolby, technology was also used for physical activity. Unruly Splats, Bluetoothpowered colored bases, were placed along the gym floor. Using iPads and the splats, students raced between the bases, performed warm-up exercises and played whack-a-mole.

Aaron Stanley, adapted physical education teacher said, the best part is that “any student can play with the splats.” Stanley’s student is confined to a walker and, at times, a wheelchair. With the splats, however, he can easily race between bases or whack them with a bat.

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