Teachers in Pioneer Central Schools say they are using state-of-the-art technology to turn classrooms into computer labs.
Wireless networking and mobile carts stocked with laptop computers have prompted teachers to come up with ways to use technology in their lessons, according to Jill Holbrook, Pioneer's director of computer operations.
"We want to concentrate this technology in the hands of teachers who are committed to using it to support a rich vision for learning," Holbrook said. "We plan to follow up with these staff members to evaluate the usage of wireless technology in order to determine its value to our district in the future."
Each lab has 24 laptop computers, which provide access to the Internet and any software that is currently on the Pioneer server.
Teachers were asked by the district's department of instructional technology services to develop proposals for use of the wireless carts in a way that supports curriculum. Examples of this include how technology is used in the workplace or as a problem-solving tool.
Teachers who submitted wireless lab proposals were asked to show how their units met district and state learning standards.
Among the wireless cart ideas, school officials said, are these:
Debi Lutz, Pioneer Middle School health teacher, has used the carts to help eighth-graders access a nutrition Web site to analyze diet and nutrition issues.
Lutz also used the wireless labs with her fifth- and sixth-graders to visit a life insurance Web site to estimate their potential longevity based on current health practices.
Pupils of Pioneer Middle School social studies teachers Jim Woolley and Maura Bird used the wireless labs to study and compile information on immigration. They researched various Web sites regarding culture and lifestyles of people in the 1920s, and focused part of their study on Western New York history, including the Pan-American Exposition of 1901.
Pioneer High School teacher Dave Reling is using the wireless labs in conjunction with a distance-learning unit on meteorology.
High school photography teacher Renee Weber is instructing students in the use of Adobe Photoshop software on the wireless laptops to create digital compositions.