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franklin county times

novaNet debuts in summer sessions

By Staff
TECHNOLOGY n Jonas Crenshaw Sr. helps summer school students, front to back, Sara Vaughn, Mark Goodwin and Marquetta Grace with novaNET, a program developed by the University of Illinois to supplement classroom curriculum. Photo by Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
June 21, 2001
In the novaNET lab at Northwest Junior High, summer school students are making the most of technology.
NovaNET is a computer software program in its second year of use in Meridian Public Schools. It offers self-paced, interactive curriculum for students.
This summer
Students are using the program for credit recovery, to master objectives they may have missed in the classroom, for remediation, to review, drill, practice and tutor in specific areas and for enrichment, and to expand on what they are learning in the classroom.
Courses each student is taking this summer are entered into the program.
The program gives students a pre-test at the beginning of each lesson. If a student does not achieve 80 percent accuracy on the pre-test, they will have to work on their areas of weakness before continuing with the lesson.
After lessons are completed, a post-test is provided to determine if a student is ready to advance to the next unit.
Crenshaw said students with computers can access the novaNET site at home.
Until this summer, novaNET has been used as a pilot program and for after-school tutoring. This year novaNET will be used to supplement high school classroom instruction and Crenshaw will be ready to utilize it with his classes. He will begin his first year of teaching U.S. history at the high school this fall.
A teacher's view
Jonas Crenshaw Sr., a teacher of 34 years, sees novaNET as having a lot of potential.
This summer Crenshaw has utilized novaNET with U.S. and world history, Mississippi studies, government, social studies and economics.
Crenshaw said he has seen improved study skills among his students because they have to review lessons through novaNET until they understand it. The computer will not allow them to skip over anything.
He also sees students becoming more task-oriented because the program tracks all the work that is done. If a student stares at a blank screen for several minutes, it is recorded.
Crenshaw said some students were reluctant to work with computers.
Crenshaw said the program "somewhat bridges the gap of digital divide," between students with access to technology and those without.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.