By Mason W. Canales

The Cove Herald

Fifth-graders at Clements/Parsons Elementary School clicked and scrolled through hundreds of resource websites in the library Wednesday, scouring for information to fill in a slide about the weather.

Each group from every class thumbed through Google Images discussing which pictures would fit best on their slide on topics such as tornados, flooding, sandstorms and more. They also looked for facts about their assigned weather events.

"Technology is engaging," said Cristine Ragland, the school's librarian. "It engages them as they present and as they learn."

The activity was part of the first-ever Digital Learning Day Campaign, which took place across the nation Wednesday.

According to a news release from the Copperas Cove Independent School District, the day was created by the Alliance for Excellent Education and designed to celebrate innovative teaching and highlights practices that make learning more personalized and engaging for students.

"CCISD strives to build momentum for a wave of innovation that changes policies, shifts attitudes, and supports wide-scale adoption of these promising instructional practices," stated the release. "We want to highlight what many teachers and students may already be doing in our district, while also encouraging our students, teachers, librarians and parents to explore the additional possibilities associated with digital learning."

Ragland said the Clements/Parsons library is one of the many places where students use digital technology to learn.

Students don't just visit the library to read; it's a place where students conduct research, and digital mediums make it easier to access the wealth of information available. That is why Ragland runs programs such as the create-a-weather-slide project. She has integrated math, English, history and science into many of the lessons students learn at the library.

Fifth-grader Aviyon Wilborn said technology helped her complete many of her assignments. It also makes it easier to stay abreast of class work. If she forgets an assignment, she can look at her teacher's Web page to remember.

Another fifth-grader, Taylor Linza, said she also enjoys technology and digital learning because it is more interactive.

Students can stand up in class to read a book where they speak and hear the information, but when a student makes a PowerPoint presentation, they are creating something, said Ragland. They use the facts and see them as they format their presentations. They then recite the knowledge they used to create it.

"Technology makes learning more affordable and makes it more engaging," said Ragland. "It is about using all the tools together."

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