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AHS students go ‘digital’

For Andalusia High School students, the PowerPoint presentation and the Wiki page have joined with the term paper as the new 21st century classroom project. Monday, the school will host an exposition to display the various technology-based projects the students have created.

“The students have worked really hard on these projects,” said Dawn Thompson, AHS English teacher and DIP coordinator. “They’ve developed a lot of important skills, like teamwork and solving problems. These are skills they’ll need to compete globally.”

The students have experienced this new way of learning thanks to funds provided by the Digital Immersion Project (DIP). So far, DIP has received more than $150,000 in grants from the Solon and Martha Dixon Foundation, Andalusia City Schools Foundation, Alabama Educational Technology Grant. This money has been used to purchase laptops, LCD projectors and other technology for the school.

Some of the projects that will be on display at Monday’s expo include PowerPoint presentations and Wiki pages — a sort of online encyclopedia page that the students periodically add to based on their research. A geometry class at AHS created a project based on looking at pieces of art and architecture to find geometric shapes such as parallel lines and conics.

“These aren’t just simple PowerPoint presentations, either,” Thompson said. “These kids have used video, music, and other media.”

The expo begins at 6 p.m. in the school’s auditorium, where House Speaker Seth Hammett will be the guest speaker at the opening ceremony. From 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the projects will be displayed at the volleyball gym, where teachers and students will be present to answer questions.

“Some of the teachers met with Hammett last winter and he was really excited about this program,” Thompson said. “He and Sen. Holley were both supporters from the very beginning. We just want to thank everyone who was able to help.”