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Classroom of the future for BHS

Allesha Dobermeier participates in a hands on way of taking a test in Jesse Hickman's classroom as they introduce the use of a smart board. The smart board is a touch screen device created for a more convenient, technological and fun way of learning.1 / 2
The electrician wires a piece of equipment as he installs the new system.2 / 2

Chosen from more than 250 applications, a classroom at Blackduck High School has been converted to a Classroom of the Future.

The $15,000 award was made by Tierney Brothers, Inc., a Minneapolis audio-visual design firm that does similar work for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, schools and others.

It was given based on an application in which Blackduck High School Principal Wendy Templin had stressed that, "The greatest challenge for public schools today is funding the necessary advanced technology."

She continued, "Because the Blackduck district has a population where more than half the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and nearly one of five families are below the poverty level, acquiring resources is very difficult."

The installation of high-tech facilities in a BHS classroom was completed Tuesday, after the announcement in December that Blackduck's application had been chosen to receive the equipment.

Blackduck was selected based on how other technology programs have been used in the school, how programs were first initiated and measurable impact on student learning.

During the past two years, through a collaborative grant with Bemidji Public Schools, BHS was able to receive two interactive "white boards" for their chemistry class and business department, but, as Templin said, "The cost of this technology coupled with our limited resources, prohibits us from providing this school-wide."

The Tierney grant package will now provide a SMART white board, an Epson projector, a Chief projector mount, Crestro control system, a Lumens document camera, SMK Link remote and software.

Translated, it can take the place of a "white board," which in turn, replaced the old green or black boards. A touch of the computer will enable an instructor to write, erase and perform mouse functions with a finger. Buttons will activate an on-screen keyboard and work can be saved, re-edited and notes converted into software applications including Windows.

Templin said the package installed also includes student "clickers" so class members can respond to questions and even have the results appear in full graph form.

In addition to assembling and installing the package with the cooperation of other manufacturers, Tierney will also provide maintenance and training as part of the award.

The December announcement of the award was made in Minneapolis and presented jointly by company CEO Tom Tierney and Dr. Joel Donna of the Minnesota Department of Education and accepted for the school by Superintendent Robert Doetsch. It was the fourth year Tierney Brothers, Inc., has made the award.