Technology changes the way students learn at MVMS

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MEXICO — At Mountain Valley Middle School, technology in virtually every class drives learning in ways many would not have thought possible.

Students use their assigned iPads for doing homework, answering questions in class and in a myriad of other learning activities.

Katianna Sinclair and Aleksa Pierce, both eighth-graders, were working while sitting on beanbags in the school’s library. They were doing an assignment issued by teacher Trudi Cormier. The notes were on the iPad, and the girls had to watch a video on the iPad presented by Khan Academy.

“We had to watch the video to get to the assignment,” Sinclair said. “It would tell us what to do.”

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Cormier isn’t the only teacher using iPads to give and correct assignments.

Science teacher Kristen Garbarini links students to assignments they may have missed so they can complete them.

“The answer of the day is put on the board, then we research the question,” Sinclair said.

Many types of technology are used to educate students, librarian Amy Ryder said.

“It helps teachers share lessons and goes a little more smoothly,” she said. “Technology engages students.”

Bethany MacDonald, life skills teacher, uses her iPad with students, as well as  managing seven educational technicians in Mountain Valley Middle School in Mexico and Mountain Valley High School in Rumford.

“We share staff schedules. We know where they are and who’s in charge,” MacDonald said.

The touch screen works well with students with special needs, too, she said. They also use an app to take attendance.

Ryder said students are so familiar with technology that they adapt immediately.

“I only get so much money to buy books. Teachers can get good quality resources (online). We get more for less,” she said.

In Cormier’s classroom, students were answering questions she posed on her iPad with scanable graphic cards held up by students.

In art class, students can download apps in different colors and graphics to spur creativity.

This is the second year middle school students have used iPads rather than laptop computers.

“We do more creative things, like making movies, songs and photography,” Ryder said. “iPads are more versatile.”

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