Mr. Michael McCarthy
Technology Teacher & Coordinator
Welcome to the Vaughn Road Elementary School Technology page. This page is intended to provide you with a brief overview of the Technology equipment that is used regularly at Vaughn Road as well as information about the Alabama Technology Courses of Study.
Each classroom at Vaughn Road is equipped with computer work stations for the children’s use. Each teacher selects age appropriate and subject specific activities for the students to complete while on the computers. Edgenuity is one program that is available to children in 2nd thru 5th grades and provides them with extra Math, Reading, Language, and Science help utilizing a prescriptive approach based on benchmark assessments. Children in grades 2 - 5 are assessed in the areas of Reading and Math at the beginning of the year, middle of the year, and then again at the end of the year using the STAR Reading and Math assessments. The Edgenuity program creates a personalized "Learning Path" for each child based on their areas of strength and weakness on assessment data. Students in the lower grades utilize Freckle for Reading and Math practice.
Another program that is frequently used, especially in grades K – 2 is the “More Starfall” website. The More Starfall website license is purchased by the school each year to expand the content of the basic Starfall website. More Starfall provides children in primary grades Phonics, Reading, Language, and Math support through games, stories and songs. The site includes a teachers’ resource area which our teachers access regularly. The More Starfall site is easily navigated by young children independently and the activities are also suited to hands-on instruction with the whole class using the Smart Board.
Interactive Digital Touch Panels:
All Vaughn Road classrooms are equipped with an Interactive Digital Touch Panel. Teachers frequently utilize the Digital Touch Panels for hands-on, interactive activities. In addition, the Digital Panels allow teachers to display digital resources to the students during the course of instruction. Many of the textbook publishers provide digital content that can be used to enhance instruction as well. Our teachers frequently seek out additional resources that can be displayed digitally. Online journals and publications, videos, and websites are just a mouse click away and can easily be displayed for the entire class on the Digital Touch Panel.
The Covid 19 pandemic brought about the need for virtual instruction in recent school years. The use of Chromebooks for instructional purposes became an absolute necessity. Teachers sought out new and innovative ways to reach students through the use of technology. Vaughn Road Elementary has built an inventory of Chromebooks to become one-to-one with a device for each student. Each classroom has its own cart of Chromebooks to utilize throughout the day for instructional activities. Additional Chromebooks, provided by a grant to the district, allow students to check out a device for home use throughout the school year.
Technology For Assessments:
Once again, for the 2022/2023 school year, Vaughn Road will be completing the required yearly State Assessments on computer. The annual ACAP assessment is administered to all students in 2nd - 5th grades. 4th grade students are also assessed in the area of Science using the ACAP assessment. This is a shift from the traditional paper and pencil testing forms from years past. Chromebook carts in each classroom allow us to test students in multiple locations at once rather than just the Computer Lab. The Traditional Computer Lab is comprised of 25 desktop work stations. Within the past 2 years, all desktop computers in the computer lab were replaced with new Lenovo desktops.
Throughout the school year, students regularly take their weekly assessments as well as their benchmark assessments on the Chromebooks. The frequent use of Chromebooks in the classroom helps ensure students are proficient in using the devices for the yearly state testing.
Contingent upon availability of funding, Vaughn Road will offer After-School tutoring to children in 1st – 5th grades. Participants in the After-School tutoring program work in the Compass Learning computer program focusing on Math, Reading, or Both. Placement in the program is based off beginning of the year baseline testing scores.
Technology For Communication:
Technology plays an important role during the instructional day at Vaughn Road. In addition to the ways previously mentioned, teachers routinely use email or text to communicate with parents. Each teacher also utilizes Class Dojo or Remind 101 as a means of communicating with parents. Dr. Lindsey is able to send out group calls to all the parents to provide necessary information in a timely manner. Dr. Lindsey's weekly Notes To Parents newsletter is also shared weekly, on Fridays, on the school's webpage.
The school’s new webpage is a valuable resource for important information about the school as well as upcoming events. The webpage also provides photos capturing the wonderful things that take place here at Vaughn Road Elementary. Webpage updates are made regularly, often multiple times per week. As the Technology Coordinator, I am responsible for keeping the page maintained and up to date.
During the spring of 2023, Vaughn Road's Facebook was created. As the Technology Coordinator, I am responsible for maintaining this account for the school, in addition to the web page. Much of the same information is posted on the web page and Facebook page. I keep them updated regularly to connect with as many parents and community members as possible.
At Vaughn Road we strive to fully address the standards of the Alabama Technology Course of Study. There is a separate course of study for each grade level. While many of the broad areas of focus are similar at each grade level, the level of complexity and depth of instruction increases each year. Computer lab activities cover many of the standards. However, some are more easily covered in the general classroom during the course of regular instruction or with special projects assigned by the core subject teacher.
When visiting the computer lab, Vaughn Road Elementary students utilize the "Easy Tech" platform from Learning.com to address the standards of the Technology Courses of Study. Students are presented with topics in an entertaining and interactive digital format. All students in Kindergarten thru 5th Grades work on Easy Tech lessons while in the Computer Lab. Digital citizenship and proper usage and care of computer equipment is a focus at all levels. Word processing, presentation creation, and keyboarding are main areas of focus during computer lab time for students in 1st - 5th grades using age-appropriate activities. Students this year have also begun using the Code Monkey program to build a foundational understanding of computer programming utilizing "block-coding".
Provided below are links to the Alabama Technology Courses of Study for Kindergarten thru Fifth grades.
K - 5 Technology Courses of Study (2018)
Check out some of the fun and educational websites that Vaughn Road Students often use for class activities and skills review.
Interdisciplinary (Various Subjects):
Kids Know It
Learning Games For Kids
Geography 4 Kids
Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government