Tops In Math

Friday, September 23, 2011 - 9:10am

Minnesota high school recognized for innovative use of technology in math classes.

Minnesota's Byron High School math department is receiving national recognition for the way technology is being utilized.

It's a system administrators are excited about and look forward to extending to more of the district.

"They're using smart boards, they're recording lessons, they're uploading them to YouTube. Students essentially have 24/7 access to their teacher," says Jen Hegna, Byron's Director of Information & Technology Learning.

Educator's innovative use of technology.

That's just one component that Byron High School's math department has incorporated that helped earn them the title of a 2011 Intel School of Distinction Winner.

They're one of just six from around the country with the top honor.

"In a traditional setting you would have kids maybe get the beginning questions done which are usually easier then they go home and get frustrated or stuck," says math teacher Rob Warneke.

It's school almost in reverse.

The lesson can be taught at home by watching instructor videos and the homework done in the classroom.

"If we need help with our homework instead of not doing it if we get stuck, we can ask him for help in class," says freshman Whitney Bekaert.

And it's students helping each other.

"If you can have them understand it and then teach someone else then it helps that peer and also helps that person who tutored," explains Warneke.

The atmosphere is one that many students say is more conducive to learning.

"It's not really socially awkward like other classes. Right now we have music playing, everyone's talking and communicating very well. It's a pretty slick setup here," says freshman Mitch Vespestad.

It's a start to a system that will spread far beyond math classrooms and even the high school.

"They felt that not just the innovative part was there but the community and the concept was there to make possibly the whole school great and not just this particular area," adds Warneke.

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