Mifflin County should be proud of its students

To the editor:

On May 6, I was able to attend the PAECT Student Technology Showcase held at the capitol building in Harrisburg. Schools from all over Pennsylvania set up tables to display, demonstrate and explain how they are using technology in education. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was fascinated to see what types of technology schools are using.

The showcase was not a competition, but if it had been, and if I had been a judge, Mifflin County School District would have won the competition, hands down. First of all, MCSD had about eight tables. I saw a young lady demonstrate a secret homemade formula that instantly removes permanent sharpie ink from the skin. I saw a neck warmer created with special beads that warm in a microwave. I saw a robotic spirograph. I watched and poorly played a video game created by children in our district. One of our tables demonstrated wooden car kits students had made using the school’s technology. Many who walked up to that table assumed the cars had been purchased online. They were stunned to learn that the beautiful wooden car kits had been created entirely from scratch by High School students using CADD (computer assisted drawing and drafting) and laser cutters and engravers.

One thing at the MCSD tables that drew the attention of educators was the fact that we have elementary students collaborating with high school seniors. Elementary students created comic strips. High school students scanned the artwork created by those kids. Using a software package, the kids created electronic slide shows of their comics and added voiceover. Meanwhile the high schoolers used the scanned artwork to etch panels of wood, creating a permanent version of the cartoon that was then painted.

3-D printers were used to memorialize characters and logos in the cartoon. The young cartoonists were thrilled to have their work become “real” with the help of high school students. The very fact that such disparate levels of students could work together and learn together impressed folks at the showcase.

How is all this possible? It is possible because Mifflin County School District is working hard to equip classrooms with excellent technology. But beyond simply having the equipment, we are blessed to have teachers encouraging students to use the technology in creative, unexpected ways. We have educators putting it to its full use.

As I stood in the halls of the capitol, I felt very proud of our students, our teachers and our school district.

Scott Andrews