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Monticello teachers are inspirED by technology

Feb. 22, 2016

Say goodbye to chalkboards and pencil sharpeners and say hello to augmented reality and programmable bots.
On Friday, Feb. 12, over 400 professionals from Monticello Central School District (MCSD) and the surrounding school districtsgathered at Monticello High School (MHS) to learn new ways to reinvent learning experiences using technology at the district’s inaugural “InspirED by Technology” learning summit.
teachers watch a presentation on using minecraft in the classroom
Teachers and staff had over 50 workshops to choose from, running the gamut from “Creating Authentic Learning Experiences with LEGO Robotics” to “Twitter for Teachers.” Each one was focused on enabling teachers to use technology to engage students in innovative ways.

“I use a ton of technology in my classroom,” Karen Deans, a science teacher at Robert J. Kaiser Middle School (RJK) said. “It enables me to teach the curriculum in more interesting and engaging ways. I’m walking away today with some new tools to flip learning.”

Ms. Deans isn’t the only teacher at MCSD who sees the value in integrating technology with academics. As some teachers attended the many workshops available, others, along with their students, were presenting the ways they are currently using technology in the classroom at the “Interactive Playground,” held in the school’s cafeteria.

On one end, a 3-D printer whirred as it slowly brought an Eifel tower replica to formation.

“It’s our portable 3-D printer,” RJK Head of Technology William Oefelein said. “We use a program called Solidworks to design and make a prototype, and then send that prototype to one of our school’s 3-D printers to bring it to life.”

Several students hovered around keyboards hooked up to Mac computers, earbuds in place, fiddling with the controls.

“They’re able to learn all aspects of making music,” MHS music teacher John Bernstein said. “We have the capability to teach live-recording, sound production, editing, remixing and film scoring – we have these tools and we allow the students to takestudents pose at the interactive playground the direction that they want to go in.”

Nearby, two students used barcodes to program a small car to respond to a sequence of hand claps. Clap once, the car turns. Clap twice, the car moves forward. Outside the cafeteria’s doors, members of RJK’s media club demonstrated a green screen and invited teachers to simulate flying and weather casting. Students were enthusiastic and proud to display their hard work.

“Technology is such an effective way to reach students,” MCSD Director of Technology Shelley Rossitto, said. “Becoming familiar with, and comfortable using emerging technologies enables our students to think critically and become life-long, evolving learners. The district focuses on creating life-ready students, and in the 21st century life and technology are intertwined.”

Follow the hashtag #MCSDTech2016 on Twitter to our teachers’ and students’ reactions to “InspirED by Technology”
Click here to watch a video of the Interactive Playground
Click here for TWC News’ coverage of the event