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High-tech learning for Mulberry students

February 12, 2002|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — As they poured over old school photos Friday, some dating back to the first decades of last century, students at Mulberry Elementary School were intrigued by a 1918 class photo showing young school teacher, Miss Rose Harrow, primly dressed in a stiffly starched ankle-length dress.

But when they got to the class photos from the 1960s and 1970s, they lapsed into giggles at what they considered the "weird" fashions of that era.

The students, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at Mulberry, northeast of Brawley, were working on a multimedia showcase of their school's history, which will be presented by five of the students at the California Student Technology Showcase in Sacramento on March 11.

The showcase is put together by the California Technology Assistance program and CTAP selects schools from each of nine regions to participate.


Under the guidance of eighth-grade teacher Luis Panduro, the 30-strong technology class has been learning to use different elements of computer technology such as Power Point and digital video cameras. The end result is the 30-minute multimedia presentation.

Panduro explained Friday that Mulberry, with only 90 students and five teachers in a rural setting, had not had much exposure to computer technology before CTAP awarded it a grant that enabled Mulberry to become involved with the Technology Showcase.

Saying the students were doubtful at first they could master the technology, Panduro described how he showed the students a presentation using Kid Pix, a less technically challenging version of Power Point.

"Their reaction was ‘Wow! That's cool!' and so we first worked on simple presentations called ‘moopies,' which are basically little one-frame cartoons," Panduro said as he watched his class excitedly going through the old photos Friday.

Explaining the CTAP program is all about encouraging schools to thoroughly incorporate technology into their curricula, Panduro added it had some wonderful spin-offs into other areas of classroom learning.

"Just recently the children working on the project discovered, through photos sent to us by a retired teacher and by interviewing a member of our staff, that Mulberry actually had a separate school house for minority students well into the early '50s."

Panduro said the discovery of this fact led to an important lesson in history and worthwhile, thought-provoking classroom discussions.

"The showcase is not just about the children learning technology — they have been working on their interviewing skills, their writing — and as you can see, their history."

Mulberry students now can definitely claim to be a "wired" school. Students take spelling tests online on the school's Web site and the eighth-graders produce a school newsletter using desktop publishing software.

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>>Staff Writer Jennifer Ralton-Smith can be reached at 337-3442 or

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