District adds interactive technology to classrooms

Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education grant pays for 15 more Promethean white boards

NEW IPSWICH — The students returning to the Mascenic School District this fall will see a lot more classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology.

This past week, the Mascenic School District installed 15 additional Promethean Boards in the district’s schools. Ben Kilar, the director of technology in the Mascenic School District, told the School Board at its July 15 meeting that the boards would be installed that week and ready for the coming school year.

The push came after the district was awarded a federal Individuals with Disabilities Education grant to put more Promethean Boards in the school’s special education classrooms. After the special education classroom, the rest of the boards were distributed to math, science and technology classrooms.

Promethean Boards are essentially interactive white boards. The board’s have the ability to detect and respond to touch interactions on the whiteboard surface. Teachers can use the boards to present lessons and make real-time notes or adjustments. Images can be easily moved, scaled and rotated with finger touch.

“There have been studies that show that students struggling to achieve do better with interactive elements in the classroom,” said Kilar in an interview Monday. Promethean Boards were one element the study found to be effective, Kilar said. “There are advantages there. The Promethean Boards build a more proactive classroom. Teachers can turn over direction and control to the student. It’s a very powerful classroom tool.”

Kilar said Monday that the district has been seeking to install Promethean Boards in the schools when they have the opportunity to do so, especially in the math and science areas, where they have been found to be the most useful.

The district has steadily been making progress towards installing Promethean Boards in classrooms since 2009. Eleven were installed in 2009 and 2010, and in the district’s fiscal report from 2011 for the upcoming year, it was a goal to have all the Highbridge Hill Elementary School classrooms equipped with the boards — a goal that has been met, thanks to the federal grant.

Kilar said Monday that each school in the district received five of the new boards. Now that the additional five boards are added, all of Highbridge Hill’s classrooms are equipped with them, he said. And district-wide, all math and science classes have them, he added.

“We are 100 percent equipped in math and science right now,” Kilar said Monday.

Tom Kelley, the principal at Mascenic High School, said that his school would be installing three new boards to humanities classes, two in social studies classrooms and one in an English classroom. The Math and Science Department at Mascenic High School were each already equipped with four Promethean Boards, he said.

Kilar said two more boards will be installed at Mascenic in a computer class and a math class.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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