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Alden classrooms get technology upgrade

Alden Middle School is using a new program that keeps students engaged and excited about the lesson of the day.

ALDEN, N.Y. — Students at Alden Middle School are trading regular notes scribbled on paper for swiping and scanning as a way to show their work and share their answers in math class.

They are using a program called Nearpod, which allows them to follow along with lessons on their tablets and send their answers to the teacher so they can be reviewed together.

Math teacher Tara Laraba says the technology helps keep things moving in class and keeps students engaged and excited about the lesson of the day.

The district used some of its share of Smart Schools Bond Act money to purchase new technology. Districts must pay for things upfront but can get reimbursed by the state for tech upgrades like computers, Wi-Fi, software and tech infrastructure.

Tech improvements are especially important in rural districts, like Alden, because there are still a large number of students that don't have computers or internet access at home.

Next year, Alden Central Schools will go forward with the "One to the World" initiative, which will put tablets in the hands of more students. They will start with fifth grade and grades nine through 12. The students will be able to take the tablets with them from grade to grade and use them both at school and at home.