Representatives from the Manning School District testified about the use of the Iowa Communications Network Thursday during a town hall meeting in Washington, D-C . U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige hosted the meeting on using technology in education that also included representatives from schools in Montana, New Mexico and West Virginia. Manning calculus teacher Brad Benton admitted he didn’t immediately take to the idea when asked to teach via the fiber optic. Benton says he thought he needed a chalkboard to make graphs and write out equations and didn’t think he could do that via the I-C-N. As the year progressed he says his attitude toward it wasn’t very good. Benton says his principal told him he had to teach calculus, and he came around to the idea after visiting a classroom where a teacher was using the I-C-N in 1997. Benton says he fell in love with it in a second, as he says it looked like a lot of fun. Benton says the program has since expanded to the Van Meter and Twin Cedars schools, and he’s pleased to see the benefits.One of the benefits is the opportunity it provides to kids who are taking the initiative to ask to take a class where the teacher isn’t present. Benton says the class did more than teach kids calculus.He says it was really neat to see kids mature and gain friends in other schools and share their experiences. Benton says it was something they didn’t anticipate as they connected with the other schools. Iowa Congressman Steve King set up the Manning presentation for the discussion on the best plan for use of technology in education in rural America.
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