Tech­nol­ogy Day show­cases how tech­nol­ogy en­hances ed­u­ca­tion

Par­ents, busi­nesses, teach­ers from Berks school dis­tricts at­tend Schuylkill Val­ley In­no­va­tion and Tech­nol­ogy Day

Northern Berks Patriot Item - - LOCAL NEWS - By Lisa Mitchell lmitchell@21st-cen­tu­ry­media. com @kutz­town­pa­triot, ham­bur­gitem on Twit­ter

Par­ents, busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives and teach­ers from Berks County school dis­tricts ob­served how tech­nol­ogy en­hances ed­u­ca­tion dur­ing Schuylkill Val­ley School District’s 2018 In­no­va­tion and Tech­nol­ogy Day on April 4.

Those at­tend­ing from lo­cal school dis­tricts in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Kutz­town, Daniel Boone, Tulpe­hocken, Muh­len­berg, and Pine Grove Area, as well as Berks County In­ter­me­di­ate Unit. Schuylkill Val­ley stu­dents and teach­ers demon­strated how they use tech­nol­ogy in their class­rooms.

“This pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for us to share with the com­mu­nity how we’re us­ing tech­nol­ogy in our schools and to work on pro­vid­ing that sup­port and to build part­ner­ships with both busi­nesses and with other schools be­cause I be­lieve in shar­ing knowl­edge with oth­ers,” said Michael Bill­man, Schuylkill Val­ley Di­rec­tor of In­struc­tional & In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy. “The event pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for teach­ers that are do­ing great things to show­case what they’re do­ing.”

Tours in­cluded a visit to each of the school build­ings to see tech­nol­ogy used in the class­room, from ad­vance place­ment com­puter sci­ence at the high school to com­puter pro­gram­ing and ro­bot­ics at the ele­men­tary school Dis­cover Learn­ing Cen­ter. Much of the tech­nol­ogy used are free Google Apps ac­cessed via Chrome books. With the tech­nol­ogy use in the class­room, there is an em­pha­sis on team col­lab­o­ra­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Even learn­ing about the Dewey Dec­i­mal Sys­tem is en­hanced with the use of a free Google App. Li­brary stu­dents used a green screen and the Do Ink App to cre­ate a video.

“The fourth graders are mak­ing com­mer­cials for the 3rd graders to learn about the Dewey Dec­i­mal Sys­tem of the li­brary. We use tech­nol­ogy in the fact that they col­lab­o­rated on the script us­ing Google docs. We’re us­ing the Do Ink App to cre­ate (the com­mer­cial) and the kids will watch it and we’ll push it out through Google Class­room to the third graders and they can watch each of the com­mer­cials,” said Schuylkill Val­ley Ele­men­tary li­brar­ian Stephanie Ja­cobs.

Us­ing tech­nol­ogy to learn about the Dewey Dec­i­mal Sys­tem makes it more rel­e­vant, Ja­cobs said.

“They un­der­stand it. They in­tro­duce it to a new group of peo­ple and so the kids know where to go in the li­brary to find books,” said Ja­cobs.

Schuylkill Val­ley PTO Pres­i­dent Kelly My­ers, an ele­men­tary school par­ent, said, “I’m ex­cited to see how much the school district is in­te­grat­ing tech­nol­ogy, es­pe­cially nowa­days when it’s so im­por­tant. It seems like sec­ond na­ture to kids and the more we get them in­volved with it the bet­ter for so­ci­ety in gen­eral.”

Schuylkill Val­ley ele­men­tary school par­ent Matt Wal­born said stu­dents to­day are do­ing so much more and be­lieves they are get­ting more out of the high school ex­pe­ri­ence than he did when he went to high school.

“I think that it is awe­some to watch them work­ing,” said Wal­born. “It’s been eye open­ing to me and it makes me happy just to see how they’re us­ing these re­sources and turn­ing that into a bet­ter ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for the kids.”

Schuylkill Val­ley High School so­cial stud­ies teacher Me­gan French liked that the show­case gave stu­dents an op­por­tu­nity to share their per­spec­tive on tech­nol­ogy use in class.

“It re­ally does seem like they are em­brac­ing it as much as we are,” said French, who uses Google Class­room which gives her stu­dents ac­cess to pow­er­points, notes, as­sign­ment re­minders and out­side re­sources, as well as free Google Class­room Apps for col­lab­o­ra­tion and construction of pre­sen­ta­tions. “We’re go­ing through train­ing pro­grams our­selves and try­ing to find new things for them. It does seem like they’re ap­pre­ci­at­ing it and en­gag­ing with it.”

Schuylkill Val­ley High School ju­nior Scott Horn­ing spoke on the panel that in­cluded teach­ers and stu­dents, dis­cussing the different uses of tech­nol­ogy in the high school class­room, in­clud­ing Google Apps for Ed­u­ca­tion and Chrome Books. He likes that it helps with or­ga­ni­za­tional skills and al­lows him to ac­cess his school doc­u­ments at home or at school, or any­where in the world.

“It helps stu­dents be­cause we can eas­ily col­lab­o­rate with each other, so if we need to share doc­u­ments, we can eas­ily do that,” said Horn­ing. “I hope that (the vis­i­tors) learn that the Chrome Books and stuff like that it’s very use­ful and helps out with the teacher’s cur­ricu­lum and helps us col­lab­o­rate.”

Scott Matz, chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer at Daniel Boone Area School District, said Boone will be launch­ing a one-to-one pro­gram next year.

“We’re tak­ing a look at what’s go­ing on in the county, look­ing for tips for our district as well, and just gen­er­ally hav­ing a bench­mark to mea­sure up against our­selves with our own project,” said Matz. “In­te­gra­tion looks different in each district but there’s def­i­nitely a cou­ple of class-

room re­sources that we can take back for our fac­ulty.”

In ad­di­tion to bring­ing more stu­dent col­lab­o­ra­tion into the class­room, Matz said Boone hopes in­te­grat­ing more tech­nol­ogy will level the play­ing field for stu­dents by pro­vid­ing equal ac­cess to a de­vice.

Daniel Boone math teacher Tracy Driehaus hopes to use more tech­nol­ogy in her class­room.

“Math is clearly not the most en­gag­ing sub­ject to a lot of stu­dents and yet it’s nec­es­sary. In my opin­ion, as a math teacher, the most nec­es­sary part of it is prob­lem solv­ing and de­vel­op­ing that skill to think out­side the box and go that ex­tra mile to find a way to an an­swer,” said Driehaus. “I hope to use tech­nol­ogy to be able to en­gage stu­dents who might not oth­er­wise be en­gaged and to give them re­sources that they have ac­cess to do that prob­lem solv­ing for them­selves.”

For ex­am­ple, stu­dents can ac­cess youtube videos and ex­am­ples of prob­lems to help them work through prob­lems, in­stead of giv­ing up and wait­ing to work with the teacher. Driehaus said this makes the re­sources and tools avail­able to stu­dents.

“So that they have an in­vest­ment in their ed­u­ca­tion; they value it more. They see what they can do with it, rather than see­ing it as some­thing that some­one else is forc­ing upon them,” said Driehaus.

Schuylkill Val­ley tech­nol­ogy in­te­gra­tion coach Tod Whit­man said Schuylkill Val­ley wanted to give peo­ple in the com­mu­nity and ed­u­ca­tors from other dis­tricts a look at what Schuylkill Val­ley School District is do­ing.

“Show off what we’re do­ing, be­cause we’re very proud of it, and hope­fully show off kids do­ing real world ap­pli­ca­tions in classes. But also to get ideas from peo­ple from other school dis­tricts and ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions about what they’re do­ing and maybe bring some ideas on where to go next here.”

Ev­ery stu­dent in grades 3 through 12 have a de­vice in class everyday. Whit­man said Schuylkill Val­ley is trans­form­ing the cur­ricu­lum to use the de­vices and do more hands-on prob­lem solv­ing and real world ap­pli­ca­tions, much of which in­cludes team col­lab­o­ra­tions.

“We’re try­ing to pro­vide a great ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­nity for all of our stu­dents here, a level play­ing field with the tech­nol­ogy, and try­ing to help our stu­dents de­velop col­lab­o­ra­tive prob­lem solv­ing skills that they can take with them, whether they go to col­lege or out into the world of work,” said Whit­man.

LISA MITCHELL - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Par­ents, busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives and teach­ers from Berks County school dis­tricts ob­served how tech­nol­ogy en­hances ed­u­ca­tion dur­ing Schuylkill Val­ley School District’s 2018 In­no­va­tion and Tech­nol­ogy Day on April 4.

LISA MITCHELL - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Par­ents, busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tives and teach­ers from Berks County school dis­tricts ob­served how tech­nol­ogy en­hances ed­u­ca­tion dur­ing Schuylkill Val­ley School District’s 2018 In­no­va­tion and Tech­nol­ogy Day on April 4.

LISA MITCHELL - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Dur­ing Schuylkill Val­ley School District’s 2018 In­no­va­tion and Tech­nol­ogy Day on April 4, teach­ers from Kutz­town, Daniel Boone, Tulpe­hocken, Muh­len­berg, and Pine Grove Area school dis­tricts, as well as Berks County In­ter­me­di­ate Unit, sit in on a panel...

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