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Technology Highlights
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Mark Ravenscroft

Mark Ravenscroft pictureThe first computer that Mark used in the classroom was the venerable Commodore 64 - a computer that was first introduced in the early 1980s. At that point, he taught music to students across seven schools in Garrett County. He started off by writing small programs for the schools' Commodores intended to enhance his students' understanding of music, and has used technology in his teaching ever since.

Five years ago, he was asked by the principal of Southern Middle, a rural school in Garrett County near the West Virginia border, to oversee the school's computers. In his new role as computer resource teacher, he administrates the school's network and student management system, and also helps teachers in his school build technology into their teaching.

This year, he helped students explore probability in a concrete way using spreadsheet software. The students first developed a formula that would simulate rolling a single die, giving a random number between 1 and 6. After that, they predicted how likely it would be that two dice rolled together would add up to sums from 2 to 12 - and then tested their predictions by simulating rolling 500 pairs of dice and graphing the results.

On how to avoid letting technology overwhelm your teaching:
"I think you can take something you're already doing in the classroom and find how technology can make it - maybe not easier, but add another dimension to it. I think you shouldn't use technology for technology's sake. You use it to enhance what you're already doing in the classroom."



U.S. Department of Education Star Schools Program