Thursday, October 23, 2014

Learning to be "Interactive" in a New Way

Our teachers have always been interactive. Students at CCS experience a multitude of hands-on activities, and our faculty members excel at interacting personally with students to make sure that they are receiving the education that fits them best. This year, however, brings a new kind of interactivity.

Let me back up to last spring. The Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit offers instructional and collaborative meetings for technology directors in public and private schools in those counties. Last spring I attended one of those meetings and met a technology director from a public district in the area. As we spoke together, he mentioned that his district was going to be making a change in the classrooms, and he had quite a few interactive white boards that he would have to discard. Opportunity was knocking loudly at the door!  I asked if his district would consider donating those perfectly good interactive white boards to our school. He followed up with his administration, and they agreed to make the donation!

By this past summer, we had received the hardware, and the boards were being installed in our classrooms. Teachers have already started using the technology and are learning more each day.  An interactive board allows teachers and students to work on the board using touch or special pens in the same way as you could work on a computer with a touch screen, only Bigger!  Teachers say that students are more engaged and excited about learning when they are using this technology. The boards make learning new ideas and reviewing past material more interesting and stimulating.

Because the boards were just installed this summer, it is a challenge for teachers, who are busy with the day-to-day of teaching, to learn all of the ways to integrate this new tool, but they are going for it! It's not the tool but the teachers who use it that make the difference. We are blessed with dedicated, creative teachers who now have a new way to be interactive!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Google Classroom - Learning in the Cloud

For quite a few years now, CCS has been using Google Apps for Education. This suite of applications allows students in grades 6 through 12 to work on documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more online and then to access their work from anywhere that an internet connection is available. It also allows students to collaborate in real time on projects even if the students live miles apart.  This summer Google introduced Google Classroom, and many of our teachers have jumped right in and are already using it quite a bit.  Google Classroom allows teachers to post assignments to their classes online and allows students to turn those assignments in online. This can cut down on wasted paper and printing, help students and teachers stay organized, as well as (hopefully) eliminate the frustration of lost assignments.  If you have  students in grades 6 through 12, ask them if they have had a chance to use Google Classroom yet this year.  These days, it's all about the cloud!