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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Smart teacher gets smart grant

Technology has been a boon to interactive learning in the schools. Business contributions that fund the technology have been a god-send to the schools.Best Buy, through its ìTeacher Awardsî grant program that promotes interactive technology in the schools, presented Larry Knoll, teacher at Falcon Elementary School of Technology, with a $2,500 check. Knoll used the grant to purchase two laptop computers for the schoolís SMART board program.A SMART board is an interactive whiteboard that connects to a computer and a data projector. Once a computer image is projected on the board, the SMART board can be used as a computer as well, controlled by the touch of a finger.Through the grant, Knoll and another teacher can download SMART board software to their laptops so they can develop lessons for the six SMART boards used in the schoolís classrooms.Knoll was not available for comment, but Julie Fahey, assistant principal at Falcon Elementary, said the SMART board program engages students and enhances the learning process for struggling students. ìWe find that when students are engaged, they are learning,î Fahey said. ìStudents can actually use their hands to move objects on the SMART board. They can write on the board with markers. Ordinary white boards do not engage kids.ìLarry is an intervention specialist,î she said. Through testing, school officials identify students wrangling with their studies course work, and Fahey said Knoll works intensively with those students in a small-group format for two weeks. The students eventually are retested to assess their progress. ììLarry has been teaching for 35 or 36 years,î Fahey said. ìBy that age, many teachers have a certain way they teach, and they donít like to change, but Larry can see something new, see the potential in it, and make it happen.îFahey said the school also received a $35,000 grant from Hewlett Packard, and she added that Knoll has written dozens of grant requests. ìWeíve identified Falcon Elementary School as a technology school,î she said. ìBut we still donít have all the equipment we need, so we are very appreciative of grants like this.î

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