Pam Sims, from left, Gracen Armendariz and Maryanne Sisavang worked with Leverett Elementary students on their history timeline using several types of technology.
From the Dust Bowl to the Digital Age
To showcase their mastery of the high-tech world, pupils at Leverett Elementary School in Fayetteville took visitors back in time several centuries.
Bonnie Culp and Leverett pupils look at the PowerPoint presentations that were part of the timeline.
University of Arkansas seniors majoring in childhood education helped the Leverett teachers and their classes with a historical timeline that the children created. The project that featured videos, podcasts, Powerpoint presentations and posters all done by the pupils was already being planned when the school learned it would be a stop on a tour taken March 15 by representatives of the National School Boards Association. The association sent a group of teachers, principals and school board members from all over the United States for a three-day visit to the district, one of four sites chosen in the nation to showcase technology initiatives. The group split up for tours of nearly a dozen schools in the district.
At Leverett, pupils welcomed the association visitors and helped with tours of their timeline. The visitors each picked up an iPod Touch to listen to information about the timeline as they strolled the school's hallways. The Leverett classes routinely use the iPods, Flip video cameras, Elmo projectors and laptop computers in their rooms.
Culp looks at Leverett school T-shirts displayed in the timeline.
"This is a great example of combining the communication capabilities of technology with education," University of Arkansas instructor Bonnie Culp said. "The children already knew how to use the Internet, but now they have a greater understanding of what they can do with the information they find."
The university students said most of the children were familiar and comfortable with the technology available to them and just needed some guidance in researching their topics and presenting the information they found. The timeline covered 1492 through the end of the 20th century with a close look at the topics of transportation; communication; important events, people and things that shaped U.S. history; and Leverett's school history.
The seniors in the childhood education program in the College of Education and Health Professions meet weekly at the school just off the north edge of the Fayetteville campus for a course on the integration of social studies and communication skills taught by Culp. Each student is required to put in 24 hours at the school outside Culp's classroom.
The class involvement at Leverett is just one of several ways the university partners with local school districts. Other senior classes meet at other schools in Fayetteville and Springdale, and students in the Master of Arts in Teaching program complete teaching internships at primary and secondary schools throughout Washington County. Students in the university's four-year elementary education program based at the Global Campus in Rogers complete internships at schools in Benton County.
The kindergarten through fourth grade classes at Leverett studied the time periods and each chose one topic to examine closely. Their parents also had an opportunity to view the timeline later in the week after the school board association's visit.
While they were preparing the timeline, the children visited the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History in Springdale and received a visit from members of the Washington County Historical Society.
Pam Sims adjusts a prop in one section of the timeline.
University students Maryanne Sisavang, Pam Sims and Gracen Armendariz described their class' involvement in the project. For the videos, the students wrote their own scripts and filmed each other. The UA students helped with editing and loading the finished videos onto the computers set up as part of the timeline.
Sims said the UA students also helped the Leverett pupils choose materials and build artifacts for the timeline.
Armendariz said one aspect she enjoyed was the opportunity to work with different ages of children. She was also impressed with how organized the school was.
"This was a huge event, and it was incredible to me how they put it together and how much work it was," she recalled. "The kids were really excited about it. For the videos, they found the props and made backgrounds. Their involvement gave them a feeling of ownership toward the timeline."
"They were so proud," agreed Sisavang. "It was a great experience for us to reach out to help kids with different learning styles."