On October 23, 2013, twenty-four teams from schools in various legislative districts gathered at the Michigan State Capitol to showcase technology they are using in the classroom for projects and everyday learning. The Michigan Student Technology Showcase, sponsored by MACUL, the AT&T Foundation, and the Michigan Department of Education is an annual event that gives teachers and students the opportunity to show legislators and state government leaders a variety of technology projects taking place daily in schools with strong technology support.
Projects displayed at this years showcase included technology like Augmented Reality used by middle school students to analyze text (Madison Schools), Computer Aided Design (CAD) projects uploaded to a MakerBot clone 3D printer as an early introduction of students to STEM technology (Heritage Christian Academy), and a student created flipped classroom wiki to help each other gain more engaging time to work with each other on math problems (South Haven). Students from Newaygo High School brought three teams of students to the Capitol showcasing work by their Emerging Technology Class using Google Drive for Project Based Learning, Google Hangout for educational purposes, the ins and outs of Twitter as a classroom tool, and classroom applications for touch screen technologies.
Haslett Public Schools, located about 20 minutes east of the Capitol, brought a handful of fifth graders from Rayla Elementary to showcase the “School Tour” created for new students to the school. The tour utilizes web pages with images, videos, and information about teachers. Individual web pages are access by scanning a QR code posted outside each room on the tour. QR codes can be scanned using a variety of apps on smartphones and tablets. Lisa Wickman, a technology specialist for the district, had this to say about the project and the district’s commitment to integrating technology into the classroom, “Haslett Public Schools has a strong commitment to academic achievement. We’ve found that teaching with technology is essential to this path. The students who participated in this project have become technology leaders in our school. They are anxious to teach their fellow students how to make webpages and QR codes (I’ll take a backseat). They have also learned valuable lessons about time and project management. It is a wonderful project that has taken on a life of its own. I’m not sure where it will stop or if it will. The students have taken control of it. I’m here to offer suggestions when they get stumped.”
In addition to the student showcase, the event was an opportunity to recognize two legislators that have shown strong support for technology in K-12 schools. Representative Arik Nesbitt, from the 66th District, and Senator Jim Ananich, from the 27th District, were presented with the 2013 Excellence in Education Award. Finally, several legislators that represent districts where the showcase participants hailed from came by to say hello to the students and listen to the presentations, including Representative Jon Bumstead (District 100 – Newaygo), Representative Sam Singh (District 69 – Haslett), Representative Nancy Jenkins (District 57 – Madison School) and Representative Bob Genetski (District 80 – South Haven).