SOMERS, N.Y. -- BOCES recently hosted a technology field trip with educators from the Somers Central School District to observe the use of instructional technology, share ideas and discuss best practices.
“Many districts are moving forward with technology but transformative change is really a challenge,” said Julie Gherardi, assistant superintendent for learning in Somers. “If every student is holding a device and can pretty much learn from and listen to it anywhere that is transformative.”
Somers Intermediate School's fourth-graders toured the Fantasy World Caverns in Utah without leaving the library thanks to a virtual tour led by Ken Behling, library media specialist. Tablets allowed the students to virtually walk through the caverns and pause to get a better look when desired in this personalized learning exercise.
Gherardi said the district needs to utilize the potential power of devices such as laptops, tablets and phones to create meaningful lessons that help students with problem solving and to be well informed global citizens.
The state recently awarded the district more than $700,000 to implement its Technology Success Plan for 2015-20.
Schools Superintendent Ray Blanch said the plan's goal is to educate the "Whole Child" by using technology to create a personalized learning experience that encourages critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, communication, collaboration and creativity.
Blanch also gave an introduction to OneNote, which is used to share ideas between classes and teachers.
Fifth-grade teacher Joe Benedetto also used tablets in a math lesson. He modeled how to do a math problem on the smart board, and the example instantly became visible on each device. Students then solved the problems and showed their work using their devices.
The technology also allowed students to split their screens and share problem solving approaches and for different problems to be sent to different students. The devices also automatically saved the problems.