Career Education Center changes look of traditional classroom

WICHITA FALLS - In the blink of an eye, technology changes. 
    
It has changed the way we live our lives whether it's through work, travel or play.

It's also changed the way our children learn and how our teachers teach. 

The new Career Education Center in Wichita Falls is the perfect example of that, and now only in it's 4th month of operation, is using technology to take teachers and students to a whole new level.

"We're going to continue to add devices. I can't tell you which devices that is because technology moves so fast," Frank Murray, WFISD Director of Instructional Technology, said.

Technology is taking over the classroom in a big way, making 21st century classrooms look like something out of the future. 

"Almost everything students do is now accompanied by some form of technology and Murray is making sure it's all up to date. 

"You know, we go on a year by year basis of what we're going to do. I can, you know our chromebooks are starting to go to a flip model chromebook," Murray said. "Most chromebooks are going that way, so more of a tablet mode. So who knows where the device is going to be."

The new CEC is not filled with your average looking classrooms. Even the furniture works to support technology. 

"As an adult we're taught that you're not supposed to put your feet in the furniture and stuff, but this furniture is actually designed for this." Synthia Kirby, Career Education Center Principal, said. 

Students aren't the only ones getting the most out of the new facility.

"Several of the teachers here have pretty much gone paper free," Kirby said. 

Including a teacher who's been around while.

"I was using paper, paper everything, paper grades, paper tests and when the introduction into technology came I believed it was just a great way for us to be more efficient," Ketra Davenport-King, CEC Business Education Instructor, said. 

But the CEC isn't just about showing off the latest technology and high-tech furniture.

"In project management they'll be able to critically think and that's when they access their information via online," King said. "Business is very virtual. So, it's learning how to connect business with business connections."

So virtual in fact, it's hard to miss one hair on your head.

"You wouldn't think about you know, all the math and the chemistry and the biology that goes into being a cosmetologist," Kirby said. 

"We use a lot of technology in the classroom," Cosmetology Instructor Jessica Kenner said. "I still use some old school stuff. I do make them write definitions and things like that because I think there is just a connection between reading and actually writing, but we do online bulletin boards, like word wall type things, so they can study on their phones or on computers."

While Kenner believes there's still a connection between some more traditional teaching styles like handwriting test corrections, she said technology saves her some time in the grading department.  

"I have a folder I take home. Not a bag of papers or if I'm grading a hundred student warmups over the course of three weeks, I can just get online and grade it." Kenner said. "I can do a class over the course of a three week period in about 45 minutes." 

Students are also saved from worrying about how they performed on big tests. 

"Immediately, they see what they got wrong and the right answers. They can go back and review while they're waiting for the other students to finish their test," Kenner said. "So it's just, I think it's helpful on both ends and it definitely helps with organization because I don't have to haul a wagon of things home every night."

So from  building a robot from the ground up, that mouse or tablet will be in their hands moving forward as well. 

"We try to put real world experiences in kid's hands as much as possible," Kirby said. 

"I see us continuing to help teachers integrate technology in the classroom," Murray said. "We're hoping that the students kind of force that issue on it, that they were taught this way this year and they love it so much that they want to continue to learn that way."


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