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Changing how students learn

If teachers thought engaging students in learning was hard before, just wait. Mobile technology has brought an entirely new set of challenges for keeping students’ attention in the classroom. However, when applied correctly, experts agree that the benefits outweigh the challenges.

While technology makes things more interactive, it also takes away the person’s attention to who is teaching the class.Teachers now find themselves utilizing technology more to grab the attention of their students.

A survey done by Pew Internet Project, a division of Pew Research Center, found that teachers said technology could be a useful education tool. Seventy-five percent of teachers said that internet and search engines had a positive effect on students and their research skills. They also went on to say that these tools had made students more self-sufficient when it came to research and projects. Ninety-percent of teachers, however, were worried that all this new digital technology was creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans.”

Evaluating technology in the classroom

Parents want to make sure their child is getting the best education possible. With that comes the understanding that both the child and teacher knows how to use the devices given to them. It does not matter that you have a shiny new iPad or Chromebook if you don’t know how to use it.

You want to make sure that teachers are engaging their students

In a local fifth-grade class, students were studying how pollen traveled from one flower to another using Ozobots. Students used large sheets of butcher paper to draw the anatomy of a plant. Then, using Ozobots placed on the drawings to represent the pollen, students designed the path that pollen must take in order to pollenate neighboring plants.

In another class, students are beginning to use the G-Suite of products to write choose-your-own adventure books. Using the built-in tools to Google Slides, students create comic book-type stories and are also including multiple twists and turns in their stories to allow the reader to read, decipher and analyze the story line. Each slide has a different link on it that allows the reader to choose where they think the action should go based on what the author has written.

Students in a local eighth-grade class are taking on the story of Icarus in a new and updated way. They are using PowToon to create a movie out of the story. The teacher provided a blank story template to the students and from there, the kids are free to illustrate, animate, and write the story in their own words.

High school students are using computer- aided design (CAD) software and 3D printers to design and print the eyeglass frames of the future! The students can design the frames of their eyeglasses in any manner they wish, but they have to be able to be worn by a person and used. Designs ranged from simple frames that simply rest on the user’s nose to frames that incorporate a buffalo icon.

Teachers allow the technology to spark new student-driven questions and then it enables them come up with their own answers.

“Children get excited when they can show what they’ve learned in new and fun ways,” said Elizabeth Freas, director of instructional technology resources and professional development for the WNYRIC at Erie 1 BOCES. “Also, the New York State Next Generation Science Standards support the use of technology in the classroom.”

Directors and coordinators at Erie 1 BOCES work with technology as a way for proper integration. The highly qualified team of integrators will help the districts to support all their technology needs. Elizabeth Freas (, 716-821-7322) will be able to answer any questions you may have when it comes to new technology for the school and classroom.

Erie 1 BOCES will be conducting regional training in its new Creation Room and Active Learning Spaces. The rooms have everything from white board tables, to movable interactive screens. The two rooms have also aligned with a new trend called flexible seating. Flexible seating allows teachers to transform their classrooms in an effort to make their learning spaces more student-centered.

District and regional workshops will help bring the latest technology to the classroom.


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