SPRINGFIELD – Students and faculty from Pana and Taylorville met with State Senator Andy Manar recently to demonstrate innovative technology-driven projects they developed and to explain how technology is becoming a more important part of their education every day.

The students were at the Capitol for 2018 Tech Day, an annual showcase that offers an opportunity for students throughout Illinois to show state lawmakers how they use devices, the internet and digital curriculum to learn and innovate in school. Tech Day was Thursday, May 10.

“I was so impressed by these students and the projects they brought to the Capitol, as well as by their enthusiasm for technology and digital learning. I was reminded yet again that great things are happening in classrooms every day all around us,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and a driving force behind the state’s adoption of a new school funding formula last year.

“As we work to ensure every school has adequate resources to provide a modern education, investing in computers, iPads and other technology will be a big part of that ongoing conversation,” he added.

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Pana Washington Elementary School

Manar met with Addasyn Casner and Luke Fitzpatrick, both second-graders at Pana Washington Elementary School, and discussed their project, “It’s Elementary.” Washington students have shared access to iPads, Chromebooks and a computer lab. They are encouraged to use technology for brainstorming, research and presentations.

Casner and Fitzpatrick were accompanied to the Capitol by their teacher, Kim Hahnenkamp, and the school’s technology integration specialist, Jessica Miller.

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Pana Junior High School

An analysis of river systems on Mars was the focus of the digital research project three Pana Junior High eighth-graders brought to the Capitol to show lawmakers.

The students included Lizzie Schafer, 14, of Owaneco; Grace Fitzpatrick, 14, of Pana; and Grace Harriston, 13, of Pana. They were accompanied by eighth-grade science teacher March Schmitz.

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Taylorville Junior High School

Fifth-graders Sophia Rogers and Hannah Hartwig at Taylorville Junior High demonstrated how they used Tinkercad to design and print three-dimensional pioneer-era wagons that actually move. The project was inspired by their study of the westward expansion and a visit to the New Salem State Historic Site.

Rogers and Hartwig were accompanied to the Capitol by fifth-grade teacher Tammy Reindl and school technology director Chris Kuntzman.

Category: People of the 48th