CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Three months ago, parent Erin Brighton set out to win the ultimate technology makeover. Using the Twitter handle @JJFoundation48, Brighton made a passioned plea for support at Barringer Elementary School and her efforts paid off.
The foundation set up by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson took notice. Six weeks ago, the foundation informed Barringer Elementary it has made the cut.
"I was so excited," said Brighton, who has two children attending the school and two more on the way. WIth 650 students, the K-5 CMS magnet school continues to use "outdated" equipment.
VCRs and old boxed TV sets sit prominately in the corner of most classrooms. Less than half the 48 classrooms are smart-board equipped. Some teachers still use overheads rather than the interactive chalkboards teacher Margaret Curry says bring a greater efficiency to the classroom. Curry, however, points out the lack of updated infrastructure limits students learning.
"If everyone had a computers I can just work from the smart board and then everyone could follow me with their own individualized computers," Curry said.
Instead, students in Curry's media room must wait. There are only eight computers to go around. Students wait for the computers to "boot up," and by the time students log on, Curry says other students don't have enough time to complete their assignments.
"Computers help them to get to where they need to go for 21st century learning. They really enjoy using the computers, and it helps them stay on task with their assignments," she added.
As a top 10 finalist, Barringer recently received a new video camera and laptop to complete the final task: A two-and-a-half minute long video entry.
Students have held brainstorming sessions to produce the video they hope will impress the judges.
"They have been using a video camera, doing surveys. They have been walking around to classrooms getting ideas. These kids want this technology makeover so badly," Brighton noted.
"These students are passionate about education about learning. These teachers are the most deserving people I have ever worked with."
Principal Stephanie Range plans to make an appearance on the video. Range says it's been five years since the school had had type of technology upgrade. She commends the parents, teachers and students who have put a lot of hard work into getting the project going.
The winner will be announced February 11.