The Commerce Journal

December 16, 2013

New teaching system making waves through CISD

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Students at Commerce Independent School District will soon have a new method of learning through their iPads.

Commerce Independent School District is one of 16 schools in the state that will utilize the new software program, Safari Montage Live, which allows teachers to livestream their classrooms to other classrooms in other school districts.

According to Blake Cooper, superintendent of Commerce ISD, the new program will open up opportunities to have more guest speakers for teachers to invite.

“If you wanted the mayor of Dallas, Mike Rollings, to come and speak, he could do it from his office,” he said. “You can connect to classrooms from across the world.”

Cooper said the program allows for teachers to record their teaching session and power point visuals for students to pull up on their iPads to help review.

“If a student is home bound, then they can still see their teacher lecturing,” he said.

CISD is also partnering with Texas A&M University-Commerce on the program to help train and equip teachers at CISD and student teachers at A&M-Commerce.

Dr. Mark Reid, curriculum and instruction at A&M-Commerce, said since he has children in the district, he has a unique perspective as both instructor and parent into the benefits of the program.

“I see this district in many different levels so I couldn’t be more pleased with the direction the district is going,” he said. “We’re going to be able to train student teachers at A&M-Commerce this spring in the new system.”

One of the benefits Reid sees is the ability for real time feedback for teachers to create and grade a quiz for students during the same class.

“It’s going to be a tidal wave,” he said. “It’s just superb.”

Al Shipp, director of technology for CISD, said this is a big step forward in Commerce, as it is the only small school in Texas that now offers this type of program for students to interact with students from all over the world in real time.

“Now, the walls are gone,” he said. “They can visit with anybody. I think it will open doors that we can’t even imagine.”