Mountain View students take 'A Digital Look at Black History Month'

Brandon Paykamian • Feb 28, 2020 at 9:49 AM

Students at Mountain View Elementary School learned about black history using modern classroom technologies as part of their Digital Learning Day event Thursday morning.

“A Digital Look At Black History Month,” took students back through what they had learned about black history throughout February.

Mountain View Principal Melissa Stukes said her students learned about people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks using programs such as Kahoot, a game-based learning platform.

“This month, since everyone was learning about Black History Month and African-American leaders, we decided to incorporate some of those facts into games the kids could play today,” she said.

Students also used programs like ChatterPix to create projects about figures like Ruby Bridges, the first black student to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana.

Students recorded their thoughts about Bridges, which could be accessed by others with a scannable code via smartphone.

“A lot of our students are usually pretty shocked that things were the way they were many years ago,” Stukes said of the students who considered Bridges “brave.”

Throughout one hallway, instructors posted facts about other black historical figures, including the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Louis Armstrong, one of the most influential figures in jazz. Students scanned each figure, which took them to a link with audio and video fast facts.

One of those figures included Stukes herself, who was recognized as a top educator in 2018 by African-American Health, Education, Religion and News Inc.

“On this day particularly, teachers step outside the box to come up with more creative things to do by incorporating more technology. We don’t want students glued to a device all day, but teachers incorporate more games and devices to make learning fun. It’s just a fun way to celebrate (integrating) learning and technology,” Stukes said. “It makes learning more fun and interesting for them, and we just want to reach our kids.”

Digital Learning Day is an annual nationwide event that started in 2012 to “spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live.” Each Digital Learning Day, schools across the Johnson City Schools district highlight how they use technology to enhance their lessons.

Mountain View’s “tech team,” led by first-grade instructor Morgan Wood, facilitated many of the day’s activities. She said Digital Learning Day events show how the district uses technology throughout the school year.

“I think it’s something the district does every day. It highlights what we’re already doing and shows where education is going,” she said.

Students at North Side Elementary School held similar tech-driven lessons about black history, while other schools focused on other subjects.

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