Technology in Education

Highlights of Educational Technology in the Blind Brook UFSD

Ridge Street Elementary School

The RSS student Newspaper Club, advised by Lisa Mecca, published their first digital edition! Using Google Sites, the club was able to transform the newspaper from print to digital. Taking advantage of the announcements layout for each page, articles are posted with pictures in an easy to read format. Check out the first publication here!

Within Sue Aurilio's Skeletal and Muscular Systems unit in Health Education, students were provided an opportunity to use technology to review content. Split into groups, with help from the Teamshake app, students used The Human Body app for kids and SMART Board interactivity. The Human Body app allowed students to interactively rebuild a skeleton and identify certain muscles, while the SMART Board allowed students to drag and drop bones and muscles onto the human body. The tools were a fun way to review content and have students work cooperatively.

Freddie Sol used Google Forms to track ticket requests for the moving up ceremony. Having access to requests immediately expedited the process as receiving information occurred faster and sorting became easier. Having Form data stored in a spreadsheet automatically, eliminated the possibility for collection errors while providing instant information.

Robin Willig's students receive time within HRE to explore digital resources such as Scratch. Students have created projects that deal with motion and created their own maze games. To see some of the lessons, visit the RSS Scratch resources page.

The RSS AIS team received instruction during Superintendents Conference Day on Google Docs in regards to increasing productivity concerning data tracking. By using Docs instead of Word, the team is able to easily share and update materials.

RSS K-2 teachers have received iPads to pilot. During the school year, teachers will explore the device in regards to possibly replacing desktop machines within their classroom. Currently, some teachers have downloaded specific apps to help students research information.

The RSS library has a new Chromebook Cart! With funds from the Blind Brook Enrichment Program (BBEP), the library received new equipment ranging from devices to furniture. Essentially a browser, the devices are quick and a great way to access web based resources. To learn more about the devices, please contact Charles Von Hollen. To learn about their availability, please contact Petra Bova.

Blind Brook Middle School

Seth Horowitz's 8th grade Earth Science students recently studied Acid Rain by "reviewing a series of articles related to the causes, environmental effects, impacts specific to New York State, steps taken by the government, and further steps that can be taken to curb acid rain." Rather than having students read through 18 pages of text, students formed groups and worked together to read and color-code the articles within a shared Google Doc. Once all of the articles had been color-coded by topic, each student was assigned one specific aspect of Acid Rain to focus on. Students were then easily able to locate all of the sections of the text which address their specific topic. To demonstrate their understanding of their topic, his students each created a Google slide presentation which consisted of images and source information. They then wrote scripts to accompany their presentations, and recorded their screencasts using Screencastify (a Chrome extension). When he "first told the kids that they would be creating videos they were a bit apprehensive, but after diving into the process, they immediately became engaged and really motivated to create the best screencast possible."

Penny Weistrop and Brian Lazere used Google Forms and Forms Add-On Choice Eliminator to assist with scheduling annual reviews. The Google Form contained fields for identifying information such as student name, parent name, case manager, and class grade level. Depending on the grade level selection, the Form went to a different page containing times only for that grade level. Once a parent/guardian fills out the form and submits it, their time selection is removed for the next user. This new system replaces numerous phone calls and emails while facilitating the sharing of information with involved members.

Christina Collins 7th grade Health Education students worked on a Halloween project in which they wrote down their dream Halloween Loot/trick or treat bag. Then students used various candy product websites to find the caloric value and nutritional values of each piece of candy/treat. Finally, in a third column students had to look up and find out how much of a particular exercise (such as running, jumping rope, etc.) they would have to perform in order to burn off the calories in each candy for their total trick or treat bag. This activity served as a creative and fun way to illustrate the caloric balance equation to students.

Cathy Schaefer and Richard Anderson used Google Classroom to distribute Slides and Docs templates to students. As part of a research project in the Ecology unit concerning endangered or invasive species, students had to publish their research within the presentations. When individually completed, each class had created two Slides presentations, one on Invasive Species and one on Endangered Species. The students "seemed to enjoy the collaboration and the process of creating their individual contributions." The assignment was found to be beneficial and they look forward to planning similar activities in the future.

Andre Soto's 8th grade students are simultaneously introduced to the Principles of Design and Google Slides by creating a slideshow illustrating the definitions of the Principles of Design. Using a combination of photos, drawings and text, students receive ongoing feedback from both the teacher and their peers during regular class discussions and an intensive class critique. Students are encouraged to be original by ensuring they create unique designs. Within their connected "Project Journals" students write down their rationales and explain their decision making process while reflecting on the challenges and successes of their creative process. Meanwhile, in 6th grade, his students are in the process of developing their own Digital Storybooks. First, students design and illustrate an original character with a unique backstory using Google Drawing and Docs. They then choose another student's character to incorporate into a larger, original story. Students then craft illustrated backgrounds in Google Slides while incorporating their characters, props, dialogue and animations.

Blind Brook High School

Milena Hoffman's Spanish 4H class has created a Language and Culture ePortfolio using Google Sites. Students are researching a Latin-American country and posting cultural comparison compositions in addition to embedding videos in which they speak about what they learned. Their website also has a section for posting weekly homework assignments from which they have 30 options. Some of these options include going on Instagram and typing in a #hashtag for their country, reflecting on what they saw and then creating their own hashtags for their country of study, changing their Facebook settings to Spanish for a week and reflecting on that experience, exploring Spanish online resources related to their country of study and writing about their experience. For the Job unit, then class created classified ads and posted them on a Google Doc. Students then had to choose a job to apply for from the list and interview each other. They used Google Voice to leave a message for the candidate that did not get the job. Finally, they wrote a formal business letter informing the candidate that did get the job about the results of the interview.

Marko Markolovic's AP Government students recorded podcasts using GarageBand concerning media bias. The audio files were completed in iTunes by adding recording information and album artwork. Once the files are completed, they are stored in a public Dropbox folder. Using Feeder and the public Dropbox link, he is able to create an RSS feed to share all of the files in one place. Lastly, Feedburner provides access to all of the podcasts. Additionally, a Google Form is used to allow students to assess the work. This process allows students to access materials in a streamlined way.

Mackenzie Gasparini is using Google Classroom as an easier way to assign worksheets that students can type on and then resubmit to her. The experience "has been a valuable introduction into paperless teaching" for her and her students and "hopes, when students have their own devices, that they can use Classroom even more."