e-MINTS: Classroom of the Future is Here

The elementary classroom of the future is here, and most of it is just the way you remember when you were a kid.  But now there's something on every desk that makes it very different.

Not a typical computer "lab", the actual 4th grade classroom at Bernie Elementary school has a computer at every desk.  It's a school system where there's roughly one computer for every two students in the district.

Bernie is one of several smaller school districts in Southeast Missouri participating in a special statewide program providing classrooms integrated with computer technology and specially-trained teachers.  The program is called e-MINTS, which stands for Enhancing Missouri's Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies.... and everyone here's raving about it

"We've seen it be so motivational for kids who are not motivated by other traditional methods.   It's exciting, it's fun!!!" says Bernie Elementary School Principal Robin Ritchie.  "It's easier and it's a lot funner on the computer than it is on the books," adds Zakary William, a 4th-grader in the e-MINTS classroom.

Teachers are sold on the program too.  "It's the fact tht these kids are excited to be here every single day, I have very few absences, they do not want to miss becasue they love it, they love everything about technology," says Christy Griffin a teacher in the e-MINTS program.

And in the integrated classroom, you won't find the teacher at the front of the classroom lecturing, she's usually at the workstations, helping the students search the internet.

As compared to the classrooms still waiting for their equipment to arrive, it turns out, the computerized classrooms have an added disciplinary incentive. "I have very few behavioral problems, becasue they're so focused on those computers, that's all they care about, they just want to look at that, and so, very rarely do I have any discipline problems," says Griffin.

"They have to sit in the desk behind there, and you won't be able to use the computer, for quite a while, that happened to him," says Erin McCarthy pointing a big finger at her computer-partner in their 4th-grade classroom.

"You know, they say we're planning for the 21st century.   Well, we are in the 21st century, it's here, computer are here, and they are just another tool that can be used to help children learn, and they're a wonderful teaching tool," says Ritchie.

The e-MINTS program is 60% funded by the state, and 40% by the district.