"Students take it for granted and don't realize the importance of it," sixth-grade teacher T.J. Page replied when asked why it was important for students to learn about technology during Galloway Community Charter School's annual technology celebration May 26.

Assistant Director Jessica Fisher said the celebration is the culmination of 10 weeks of learning for the students.

"Each grade level focused on a different type of technology, and tonight they get to display all of the projects they have worked on for the last 10 weeks," she said.

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The topics each grade focused on varied from artifacts and simple machines to how media is communicated and viral videos.

During the technology celebration, students and their families were able to go through the school and see what each class had been doing.

"It's an experience for both the kids and parents," said Lillian Cross, of Galloway Township. "It's interesting to see and remember a lot of the things they are learning now."

Her daughter, second-grader Jezlyn Cross, studied all types of physical science, including kinetic energy, sound energy, friction, and solids, liquids, and gases.

"The bubbles are made of carbon dioxide and that makes the raisins float to the top. When the bubbles pop, the raisins go back to the bottom," she excitedly explained as she showed her parents the cups filled with carbonated water and raisins.

Sixth-grade teacher Barbara Pouls said it was important for students to learn about the time line of technology because of the direction the world is going.

"Technology is the future," she said. "If you don't learn it, you will be lost."

Fisher said GCCS has become very technology-friendly over the past several years.

"This year we went pretty much paperless," she said. "Each teacher has his or her own website, which is where parents can find out what's going on in school and things like what's for homework."

Each classroom is equipped with a smartboard and desktop computer. There are also four portable laptop carts in the school, which teachers can use throughout the day.

Although Fisher knows the value of embracing the technology age, she said the staff still tries to instill in students the importance of knowing how to use the library and write a letter.

"Today we are not teaching kids how to use a card catalog," she said. "Instead we are teaching them about secure websites and how to tell if the information they find online is legit. We still know the value of a book. The Bookmobile still comes here, and the kids still take out books."

About two months ago, Fisher started "The Great American Mail Race" for the fourth- and eighth-grade students. The race allows students to research a school from each of the 50 states and send them a survey about life in their particular state.

"It is a good way for the kids to see how the states compare," Fisher said. "Every time I bring them a letter, they get so excited."

So far the students have received responses from schools in Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Jersey, Minnesota, Utah and Rhode Island.

Those interested in keeping track of the students' responses can visit the school's website, gccscharterschool.org.

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