Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - August 18, 1972, Lethbridge, Alberta
THS LETHBKIDGE HERAID PrlJoy, Lakeview School applies computers to teachers It's the age of the computer. and students at Liikcview momentary School last year helped lo show jusl how effective a tool a com- puter can be in education, The program was so effective, in fad, lluil the school will continue the program tins year. "The staff reacted very positive- ly to the program, arid are most definitely interested in continuing said Klma Groves, Lakeview's principal. The program was used in mathe- matics for Grades 1 through li, with about 'K> students directly involved, teach student had about six minutes per day on the computer Cost for the four-month project was just SHOD, which included ?IOO pei1 month for a telephone-connect- ed teletype keyboard (jusl like a regular typewriter with a few extra keys) and assistance doit) a teach- er's aide. The University of Letli- bridge provided all computer lime free of charge. .Students were pretested, and the program group was select C'l from those who scored less than !K> per cent. 'Hie same test was given to students in another school, so that the non-pai licipating Lakcvicw stu- dents and the students in the oilier school could nc used as a "control" group to see how the computer stu- dents did. "And they did do bctler than Ihe other Miss Groves said. "We'll continue the same program this year, and perhaps in the fu- ture we can get. ahold of a com- puter program for reading and oth- er subjects or design them our- selves." The existing computer program, designed by a California mathe- matician, in lio way replaces the teacher. The teacher must still show the student how to do various kinds of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Hut the computer supplies an in- dividually-tailored set of drill ques- tions to each student and keeps track of how each student is do- ing. Since the computer can spend its full lime on each student and in- stantly search its memory hanks for the right type of questions for each student, it can do an extreme- ly effective jol> of drilling. It also provides teachers with a complete class report every day, in eluding the level of accomplishment each student is at, the points he is weak in, the type of material he needs to do extra work in and what concepts he is able to learn. To tlo the same individual report for each student would lake a teacher hours; a computer does it in seconds. Most of the school's students and teachers had the opportunity to learn about computer use: al noon OR. BOB GALL A child's ability lo hear and lo see properly are at least as im- portant to his or her success in school as intelligence, yet they are often completely ignored by par- ents Parents, long familiar with their children, do nol always notice these problems because they grow ac- customed to making accommoda- tions for them: "Johnny's lost in a world of his and "Judy's jusl nol listening to us today." But the child who isn't listening or noticing may be among the 10 per cent who have some easily-cor- rected medical problem. School teachers, counsellors and administrators recommend that parents take their children to Ihe family doctor regularly, but are al- most ready to plead with parents io help their six-year-olds who are entering school this fall for the firsl time. Hearing and vision, as well as other medical factors may be found to he perfectly alt right in the child in which case the parents will have peace of mind in know- ing they have healthy children. But if a problem is found, the child will be saved from possible failure in school, or extreme dif- ficulty. And most of such a medical examination is covered by medi- care "A survey we made last year .showed many of our troubled stu- dents had medical problems particularly visual or said Dr. Boh Gall, director of school services for the public school dis- trict. "We can't coerce parents to have their children go through a thorough medical examination he- fore they slarl .school this fall, but we strongly recommend il." If a child can't see well, he can't Teally understand what a teacher is a distance' away or writing on the blackboard. r.ut it goes rleeper: muscular co- ordination of tfie eyes, color and depth perception and a ho.st of otlicM- visual skills may be partially or completely lacking in the child and a doctor can easily diagnose such problems. Hearing problems are also a dis- aster: a child who hears poorly cannot understand all of what the teacher says. .Sometimes, teachers will suspect a visual or hearing difficulty in one of their students who seems disin- terested or unco-operative. But the child may have buill "up so many defences by Ihe lime he gets to school thai the teacher may simply put his problem down as being a "reluctant learner" the polite expression for any number of emotional, intellectual or family difficulties over which the child and Ihe teacher has no control Such children become ignored; soon they are lost; they are often a school's failures and drop-oul.s. "The tragedy of il is that it's so easily Dr. Gall. "All it takes is a visit lo the doctor." Dr. Gall said he wishes the school district could afford to check each Grade 1 child in the first few months of school, so ttiat such prob- lems would be found soon enough. Bui such a project would be pro- hibitively expensive medicare doesn't cover such mass examina- tions. The district has dropped its early admissions program, which allow- ed selected five-year-olds lo start school a year early, and Dr. Gall said school counsellors and the district's speech, hearing, reading and other specialists will spend the resulting time trying lo screen Grade I students as effectively as possible. "Hut unfortunately we can't be as effective that way as a doctor can he said. "The child who misses a doctor's examination and has u visual or hearing problem can so easily become a failure and once he views himself as a failure, even if his problem is found out, it will lake him years lo over- come his lack of self-confidence, if he ever hours il was available for various mathematical pumles and games stored in its memory. "The children were fascinated at first it was delightful to watch them when they started working on the Miss Groves said, "nicy were amazed that the com- puter knew them by name, and they soon became friends with it and started to talk about it as if it were a person." They quickly became accustomed to it and lo using it, however, and Miss Groves believes the entire school be-nefilted from having the computer in the school. Divided school year remains popular here Originated in Lcthbridge. the div- ided school year is becoming in- creasingly common in Alberta school districts and the city's public ami separate schools fully intend to continue it. "We don't even need Ihe govern- ment's permission now, because the new School Act permits us to es- tablish our own .starting and ending said Dr. 0. P. Larson, superintendent of public schools. He said the only problem now, "and it really isn't much of a prob- is that the government is requiring Grade 12 matriculation students to write department of education final examinations. For the firsl two years of the scin- eslcrizcd year, which provides for two equal half-years splitting at Christmas, city high schools were given provincial accreditation and allowed to set their own exams. Last, year, however, because many other districts were clamor- ing for permission to do the same, the government withdrew the con- cession and offered a special set of exams which almost coincided wiUi Ihe earlier requirements (mid- December and early June) of Ihe divided year. (Regular departmen- tals arc held in mid-January and the end of .June.) "We're fairly satisfied now, since our local teachers evaluate the student's result and their mark provides 50 per cent of each stu- dent's final results, with his de- partmenlal exam giving the other Dr. Larson said But with recent Worth Commis- sion Keporl of Educational Plan- ning recommending that the gov- ernment do away entirely will) all provincial examinations, leaving such evaluation to local school dis- tricts, Dr. Larson does not believe the slightly out-of-step provincial exams will much longer a be a problem. "I rather think that before the end of this school year and after the department of education has had a chance lo get a bit of feed- back to the Worth report from var- ious education groups, the govern- ment may drop Ihe Grade 12 ex- ams." he said "II may be as early as this De- cember, although perhaps that's not quite enough time. But I would definitely think it could be done before time for nexl June's exam- inations." Me said the public school district may discuss asking the government this fall to drop the exams at least in Lcthbridge, in the light of tho Worth report. "We're hoping to have a meet- ing with our principals and the board to discuss the Worth report, probably within a Dr. Lar- son said. He said he believes it may be time lo do another comprehensive study of the divided school year as it is set up it] Lethbridge, "hope- fully with some hard-nosed data as well as 'just opinions." 'Hie first report, done by the Uni- versity of Lethbridge faculty of ed- ucalion. showed students, parents and teachers to be overwhelmingly in favor of the modified year. Free choice areas The Lethbridge public1 school dis- trict has "free choice" areas which allow students living in certain sections of the city to attend cither one of two schools. Elementary school slndcnts liv- ing between Olh and 10th Avcs. be- tween 17th St. and Mayor Magralh Drive may attend eiihcr Gilbert Paler.son or Allan Watson Klemen- tary Schools .Students in 7 living on cither side of ftlh Ave. between 17th St. and Mayor Magrath Drive or lliose living on Ihe easl side of 13th St. and on both sides of Hth and 15th St. between 10th Ave and 10th Ave. A may altcnd either Allan Walson or Gilbert Palorson. Grade X and students living in this area may attend cither Hamil- ton Junior High School or Gilbert Paterson.