Technology in Educational Practice

By Shifrin, Ben | Perspectives on Language and Literacy, Summer 2010 | Go to article overview

Technology in Educational Practice


Shifrin, Ben, Perspectives on Language and Literacy


e have all heard the saying, "There's nothing new under the sun." But is that really so? Throughout history, man has continually made fresh discoveries, invented new-fangled things, or simply thought of an original way to accomplish a goal. At Jemicy School, innovation is a constant objective; we continually strive to deliver our program on the most creative and productive platform.

During the past decade, advances in technology have provided countless avenues for innovation across every arena - economic, social, scientific, political, etc. We are just in the infancy of exploring technology's capabilities for changing the landscape in the field of education, but already novel uses have yielded significant results.

Innovation at Jemicy School took the form of digitizing important parts of our curriculum. As a start, we have scanned our entire writing program, including Tori Greene's Project Read and Diana King's Writing Skills, and converted these PDFs into Kurzweil 3000 documents that can be read back to students or projected on SMART Boards for instructional use. Tori Greene's Framing Your Thoughts grammar symbols were recreated in SMART Board's Notebook program and stored in a gallery for on-screen creation and manipulation during classes. With a SMART Board in the classroom, every teacher now has easy access to the best of both programs and a new "Digital Workbook" that integrates all of our lessons and pertinent links to key internet sites. Supporting Jemicy's VKAT (visual, kinesthetic, auditory, and tactile) approach to teaching, these innovations have turned previously workbook-centered exercises into interactive, multisensory lessons.

We have also gone one step further. At the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, Jemicy launched Microsoft's SharePoint on its lower and middle school campus as a means of sharing and accessing information, documents, and curriculum internally, as well as with parents and students at home. Every student and parent, through their personal SharePoint accounts, can not only access and save assignments - they can connect with resources, including digitized books, worksheets, photos, video, and more, allowing the classroom to extend into the home. Similar capability is offered to the students on the upper school campus, where Moodle is used as the link to critical tools and assignments that facilitate our students' progress.

Another hugely successful example of innovation at Jemicy has come in the form of a yearly, week-long, multisensory, cross-curriculum upper school program, which we have named "iGel" - integrated group experiential learning. …

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