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AV Motivates Students on Year-round School Calendar

Jul 2, 2008 12:00 PM, By Linda Seid Frembes

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AV in education

Now that it's July, there is no doubt that summer has arrived. Thoughts of school are far behind most teachers and students; but for a select group, the change in temperature doesn't mean time off from the classroom. According to the National Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE), nearly 400 school districts in 44 states ran on a year-round program during the 2006-2007 school year.

Rather than having two semester blocks with breaks during the holidays and over the summer, schools on a year-round calendar focus on continuous learning. According to NAYRE, that translates into shorter and more frequent breaks to minimize what educators call "learning loss" that occurs over a long period out of the classroom.

The challenge for educators is to keep kids interested in learning, with an approach similar to a marathon rather than a sprint. To that end, schools turn to AV technology to help inspire and foster creativity. "Students are much more engaged when technology is involved. It is much more exciting when I can enhance or enrich a lesson with a video than just reading a book or talking about a subject," says Chance Hastings, a second-grade teacher in Castle Rock, Colo. Hastings teaches at one of the 23 Douglas County elementary schools that operate on a year-round calendar. "Students can also explore a wider knowledge base with a video as opposed to being limited to what I know about a topic. They also take much more ownership in their learning when they make a digital project."

Douglas County is the third-largest school district in Colorado, and according to the school district's website, it is one of the highest performing in the state. Hastings' classroom includes a technology cart with an Apple MacBook computer, Logitech R-10 loudspeakers, a Epson Power Life 83+ LCD projector, an AverMedia Technologies AverVision 300AFP portable digital document, a video iPod with speaker dock, and a Nikon CoolPix.L11 digital camera.

In addition to United Streaming by Discovery Education , Hastings uses Apple's iLife software to construct projects for her classroom. "I record the class singing in Garage Band, or a script I have written over content in Garage Band, export it to iTunes, pull it into iMovie, and match it up with pictures my students have made in Kid Pix or video I have edited from United Streaming. I have also imported Comic Life into iDVD to enrich projects," she says. "I like how user-friendly United Streaming is and how quickly I can search for content by grade level."

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