Students from four Georgia school districts were on Capitol Hill March 4 showing federal lawmakers how technology is being used to enhance teaching and learning in their classrooms–and why federal funding for school technology is important. Sixteen students from four Georgia counties participated in 'Capitol Hill Tech Day,' pulling legislators aside to show them examples of educational technology projects made possible with federal funding. The students showed legislators how they can listen to podcasts on iPods and other MP3 players to hear lessons they missed when they were absent from school and how interactive whiteboards make class interesting. 'We want legislators to see their dollars at work and see that technology is making a big difference in the classroom,' said Mimi McGahee, director of the Educational Technology Center (ECT) at Valdosta State University. 'We want them to see that [technology] is not an add-on, it's a way of learning. It's our world.'
Many of the students said the technology their schools have received through Title II, Part D (Enhancing Education Through Technology, or EETT) grants has made learning fun. 'It keeps me awake,' said Britta White, a 12th-grader at Burke County High School in Waynesboro, Ga., of using Promethean whiteboards in her AP calculus class. White said that when her teacher asks the students to submit answers to math problems using student response systems, it forces her to pay attention throughout the entire class because her teacher knows if she hasn't responded to the question. And it's also an incentive for her to get the correct answer, White said, because her teacher immediately knows if she's gotten it wrong. Interactivity through technology is something that Kentrell Washington, a 12th-grader at Mitchell County High School in Camilla, Ga., said is necessary to help catch the interest of his classmates.