Young Americans Blog

Young AmeriTowne – Upgraded!

By: Amanda Krische Published: September 30th, 2013
A student from Timber Trail Elementary School swipes her debit card to check her balance.

A student from Timber Trail Elementary School swipes her debit card to check her balance.

When the first 5th graders walked into Young AmeriTowne on September 10, they had no idea just how special they were. They were the very first youth to experience the “new” Young AmeriTowne. Those 5th graders had never been to Young AmeriTowne before, so they couldn’t recognize any differences. However the teachers sure could!

Over the summer, Young AmeriTowne was upgraded to reflect the growing importance of smart boards, tablets, digital media, and instant information access. Thanks to the generous support of CoBank, Young AmeriTowne is now home to a system that gives 5th grade students a truly real-life experience.

Kiosks

The kiosks allow students to check their balances, answer a survey, order a product, submit a newspaper story idea, and more.

The kiosks allow students to check their balances, answer a survey, order a product, submit a newspaper story idea, and more.

Situated around Young AmeriTowne are four new kiosks. These allow students to quickly access their checking account to view the current balance and recent transactions. Although our curriculum encourages students to monitor their own transactions to understand the withdrawal and deposit process, the new kiosks give them the feel of computer banking access. While poking around on the kiosks, students can also sign up for “Rewards Points” at the Market, order a personalized dog tag from the Warehouse they can pick up later, take a survey, “Like” Young AmeriTowne, and submit a story idea to the Newspaper shop. Parents are also able to take a survey about their volunteer experience.

The tablets allow shop employees to easily track transactions.

The tablets allow shop employees to easily track transactions.

Tablets

Each shop in Young AmeriTowne is now equipped with a tablet. Students working in these shops can quickly swipe a shopper’s card to complete a transaction. The shop employees can also easily track their sales so they can better anticipate supply and demand. Students are then encouraged to either change their prices or increase their marketing efforts.

Additional tablets are also available to the shop Managers to create better websites and materials. The Sign & Print shop, for instance, now has many more design options for crafting those promotional materials they sell around Young AmeriTowne. The tablets enable quicker designs so they can create and sell more products.

Chroma-Key in the TV Station

The "green screen" in the TV Station.

The “green screen” in the TV Station.

We’ve all seen those green screens that news anchors stand in front of to report the weather. Now Young AmeriTowne is home to a green screen, called Chroma-Key. Students working in the TV Station are able to film commercials and then drop various backgrounds into their filmed commercials via computer, making it seem like they’ve been out and about with their camera – when really they’ve stayed into the TV Station the entire time!

A Timber Trail Elementary student edits the TV broadcast via computer.

A Timber Trail Elementary student edits the TV broadcast via computer.

The Response

Students coming through Young AmeriTowne have loved every aspect of the experience. But it’s the teachers that have really seen an improvement and upgrade. Eve King, a 5th grade teacher at Timber Trail Elementary School, has been bringing her classroom to Young AmeriTowne for several years. Hear what she has to say about these wonderful improvements:

What do YOU think of these great upgrades? Leave us your comments below.

Thank you to CoBank for making these wonderful upgrades possible. With your support, thousands of 5th grade students will have an experience that is even more “hands-on and real-life.”

2013_CoBank

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