Kalmiopsis kindergartner Alysha Nance sat down at one of the two dozen computers in Ms. Dixie Evers computer lab on Thursday.
Within minutes the five year old was moving the mouse, clicking and dragging cartoon characters across the screen into the appropriate spot.
This is their first time in the computer lab. Isnt it amazing, Evers said proudly.
While many adults struggle to keep up with new technology, a new generation of Brookings students are using it reach new heights unheard of just a few years ago.
Were now using computers for more than just glorified word processors, said Brookings Harbor School District Superintendent Paul Prevenas. Theres never been a more exciting time to be in education.
Students at Kalmiopsis school are using computers to learn basic math and reading skills.
Azalea Middle School students are using computer graphics to jazz up their reports and presentations.
Brookings-Harbor High School students are using computer generated animation and graphics to create professional-quality commercials and public service television spots.
Prevenas and the school board learned just how far students and their teachers have come during a presentation hosted earlier this week by school staff.
Evers explained how students from kindergarten through fourth grade were using interactive software at the new computer lab, which was funded completely by a grant received last year.
Were not just playing computer games, but learning what a hard drive is, how to open and close programs and clean up their desktops, Evers said.
Azalea Middle School teacher Glen Dyer demonstrated how his sixth grade students have used computers to supplement their lessons in a variety of ways.
On of his students, Paul Cleary, 12, presented the board with a Powerpoint autobiography called My Life. It included scanned photos of his family, friends and pets; voice overs, music and graphics. The adults were visibly impressed.
They kids really get involved in the projects, Dyer said. They share with their peers and help each other out. Its great.
High School computer teacher Joe Morin showed the board several student-made video productions. The 30 second spots, designed to discourage cigarette smoking, were made using computer-generated animation, graphics and sound effects.
The students also created a investigative journalism piece about rumors and how they spread across campus. The research, script, filming and interviews were all done by the students, Morin said.
But students arent the only ones on the high-tech band wagon.
Jim Baggett, the school districts technology coordinator, presented an overview of the new types of computer programs teachers are beginning to use in their classrooms.
The new software allows teachers to keep track of student/parent information, attendance, discipline and to submit grades.
This allows teaches and staff to get their hands on the information quickly, Baggett said. Once teachers learn to use it will be a powerful tool.
Board member Tom Davis said it is good for the students to see the teachers themselves using technology in the classroom.
Were entering a new age in the the district when teachers have high-end systems and feel comfortable with them, Davis said. The district is doing things better and more efficient then ever before.
Prevenas said the district was lucky to have so many computer-savvy teachers. We will continue to make technology instruction a focus of teacher training.
Davis pointed out that while other school districts strive to have at least one computer in each classroom, Brookings schools often have more than one in the classrooms.
He estimated that Brookings schools have a ratio of one computer for three students.
Were not the chaser any more. Other district should be looking up to us, Davis said.