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Page Hilltop enters 21st century with ‘ Chalkboard’


AYER — Chalkboards and erasers may become obsolete as Page Hilltop School enters the 21st century with Promethean Activboards.

Technologically savvy teachers Cathy Guthrie, Lisa Odom and Jan France, with the help of Principal Robert Ackerman and Technology Coordinator Mike Thibeault, have worked tirelessly to get these interactive white boards for the school.

With a tight school budget, this team was able to purchase two Promethean boards through grant money from the Ayer Education Foundation and the No Child Left Behind Act. France, Guthrie and Odom are using the boards with their first-, third- and fifth-grade classes, respectively. Guthrie has a board in her room, and the second one is housed in the Mac lab at the school. The latter can be used by any teacher who reserves the lab.

The Activboard technology allows teachers to access and display the Internet, graphics, unitedstreaming videos and lesson plans in seconds. Promethean has thousands of lesson plans on its site for teachers to download.

“This is an amazing tool,” said Thibeault. “Teachers can create their own lessons, or they can modify ones that are on the Promethean site.”

Guthrie agrees.

“I love the visual quality of it and how we are in the 21st century with teaching and learning,” she said. “Kids are visual and active learners and this board allows us to address those two styles.”

The board is hooked up to a laptop that the teacher controls. A projector puts the content on the board, which is controlled with a special pen.

“I think it is so cool, and it makes me really want to learn,” said Ryan Messcher, one of Guthrie’s students.

Recently, Odom did a fifth-grade lesson about the 13 original colonies, and France taught a lesson to her first-graders about coin values.

“I love using the Promethean board because of the thousands of resources right at my fingertips,” said Odom. “Maps for social studies lessons and virtual math tools are right there on a large screen for kids to see and manipulate.”

First-grader Sanjitha Subramaniam said she knows France likes the board.

“I think she likes it because she loves to see us learn things,” she said.