Laura Lavelle: Latest technology? Look to Magnolia school’s peachy program |

Laura Lavelle: Latest technology? Look to Magnolia school’s peachy program

If you have actually seen or used a slide rule, congratulations – you’re really old.

I looked up the gizmo on Google images. For some reason, I thought slide rules looked like protractors, but, actually, they look like souped-up rulers.

Ask a sixth-grader to describe a slide rule and, not surprisingly, they will recite the “only one person on the slide at a time” playground rule.

Today, school children have moved beyond such primitive learning aids (chalk, rulers, pencils, paper, etc.) to a classroom filled with electronic media. The weekly agenda almost always includes a trip to the computer lab for a lesson in the latest educational technology.

A contemporary buzzword in education: Multimedia, the combined use of several computer elements in a project, such as video, sound and animation. If you are not convinced that this phenomenon exists, take a look at student projects on to find the academic equivalent of

Still skeptical about the role technology plays in the classroom? Schedule a visit to the computer lab at Magnolia Intermediate School in southern Nevada County. Technology Curriculum Specialist Jeff Peach heads an operation that provides students with the latest in multimedia instruction, primarily using a software that he and the students at Magnolia helped perfect, HyperStudio 5.

Last week, Magnolia sixth-graders were joined in the lab by the creator of this popular educational software package, Roger Wagner. Wagner was on hand to check in on the real-life application of this program he first developed for the Apple II computer in the 1990s. The latest version of HyperStudio was reintroduced in 2008, and Magnolia student projects are used on the software’s website to show off the program’s applications.

Wagner, an experienced classroom teacher from the San Diego area, says HyperStudio 5 reaches millions of students worldwide. He first met Jeff Peach at a Computer-Using Educators conference about 15 years ago. The two have become good friends and have collaborated on projects involving HyperStudio ever since.

Besides being the primary designer for HyperStudio, Wagner is a self-pronounced bibliophile who collects vintage science books. He lives in the San Diego area and pilots sea planes in his spare time.

By the way, if you happen to own a vintage slide rule, some are selling on eBay for $30 or more.

A golf tournament to benefit the UC Davis Pediatric Emergency and Trauma Center will take place at The Ridge in Auburn on Friday, Sept. 10. The cost is $175 per golfer and includes a box lunch, drinks and dinner. Nongolfers may attend dinner at The Ridge for $35, where the host Lions Club will have a live auction and raffle.

Last year, Lions District 4-C5 was able to present the hospital with $100,000, which included proceeds from the tournament and a matching $50,000 contribution from the Lions Club International Foundation.

For information about sponsoring or entering the golf tournament, contact Bob Smith at or (916) 363-0185. Volunteers still are needed to work at the event. Call Donna Prince to help at (530) 268-0906 or her cell, (530) 305-8077.

Laura Lavelle’s column is for southern Nevada County residents to share thoughts and information. Contact her at or leave a message at (530) 477-4230.

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