was recognized recently for their ongoing efforts at bringing technology into the classroom to help prepare students to meet the challenge of a dynamic global society.
Saint A's received an award at the New Jersey Department of Education's first Kid Tech Day on April 18 for creating picture books. Entries were required to provide information that illustrated integration of technology into the curriculum, and had a positive impact on student learning.
Using various forms of technology while incorporating history, language arts, politics, and art content knowledge, the seventh grade students at the school created the picture books, which depicted historical events.
The students also shared their picture books with students from around the nation via videoconferencing.
Over the past five years, language arts teacher Shirley Scamardella has given her students a group assignment to create a historical fiction picture book, as a culminating assignment for the first marking period. What made this assignment an award winning entry was the way that students achieved their success as writers: through daily infusion of technology into the language arts curriculum.
“There are so many areas of technology which help to improve the students reading and writing,” Scamardella said. “It adds excitement to the lessons. It brings the information to students in a medium that they learn best.”
Some of the technology tools that Scamardella uses include, Delicious, a social bookmarking site, Writing Road Map, a program that immediately gives students feedback on their writing, Quia, a website which allows teachers to create their own interactive tests and quizzes, and voice threads.
Although a veteran teacher of 35 years, Scamardella began using these tools for the first time when she began working at Saint Augustine of Canterbury School. “In the five years since coming to Saint A’s, I’ve gone from not knowing anything about technology, to using it everyday.”
Technology Curriculum and Videoconferencing Coordinator, Lauriene Tschang, provides workshops for teachers, so that they can stay abreast of, and incorporate the latest technology into their classrooms. Tschang is also available to assist teachers during lessons so that students and teachers receive the greatest benefit possible from the available technology.
In addition to the Kid Tech Day Award they received, Saint A's also won a Digital Learning Day for a video they produced.
On Feb. 1, the Alliance for Excellent Education Committee hosted the first ever National Digital Learning Day, which encouraged the innovative use of technology. St. Augustine of Canterbury School chose to participate in this event by first hosting a Reading Rap day with their students and faculty rapping and reading about the Five Elements needed to write a good short story.
Next Saint A's held a school-wide collaborative writing event by utilizing a Web 2.0 tool called Storybird, in which each class composed their own story. Lastly they invited the parents in to the Storybird Showcase day where the teachers and students displayed and read their books.
Mr. DeBari, one of their Technology Specialists, and Mrs. Knox, the Computer Teacher, videoed the event and Mr. DeBari produced a movie about the celebration and entered it into a contest sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education Committee.
Their video was chosen as one of the winners in the Best Teacher Celebration category and the school will be receiving assorted prizes from the sponsors of Digital Learning Day.
To learn more about this annual event or to view the winning video, please visit http://www.digitallearningday.org/awards/.