Student work grows online in Oak Brook
Mary Beth Marinier helps Ali Ahmed with his computer project at Butler Junior High. | Dan Luedert—Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:09AM
OAK BROOK — The old excuse about the dog eating your homework is on its way out as being even remotely believable at Butler Junior High.
A new online system being used in Butler Elementary District 53 allows teachers to use individual web pages for just about everything, including the posting of homework assignments and the return by students of completed assignments.
The Edline system brought in by District 53 also resulted in a new website for the district, a new voice reach system that allows recorded phone messages to be sent out to parents, and a more efficient Listserv for online communications with parents.
The new system allows for considerably more communication between teachers, and parents and students.
“In the past, teachers have had websites with static web pages,” said Steve Ryan, a social studies teacher who also is director of technology. “Now, every teacher can have an instructional class page that allows students to take quizzes and tests online. Teachers can also post homework on there, and students can do their assignment and send it back to the teacher on the system.”
Because of his technology background, Ryan probably is using the new system for more things than other Butler teachers.
“It’s an evolving process,” Butler Junior High Principal Stephanie Palmer said.
Ryan said individual web pages for teachers purposely have not been standardized so each teacher has flexibility.
Palmer said the new system is great for students when they are absent from school and already has cut down on the use of paper at Butler Junior High, a trend she expects to continue.
“I don’t use paper in my classroom now,” Ryan said. “Aside from the environmental component, students can have access anywhere on any device. They can participate in class without being in class.”
Shelley Leland, a science teacher and reading specialist at Butler Junior High, said she is in the process of trying to go paperless.
“When I first started with this I focused on getting students used to doing all these things online,” Leland said. “This is so beneficial to their futures because things are going to be more and more like this as time goes on.”
And there have been other benefits as students have been working on the new system.
“It’s more assessable to research when they’re working on an assignment because it’s right there online where they’re already working,” Leland said. “The kids really love that, and it’s also created a lot of cooperation among students.”
Palmers said the new system is helpful for parents wanting to keep track of what their children are doing in school.
“This is a one-step place for parents to find out anything they might want to know,” she said. “It’s especially helpful when you have multiple children. The change now for parents is establishing the habit of going online to use the tool.”