DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Google Docs and iPad apps are joining textbooks and flash cards in classrooms at Dobbs Ferry Middle School as part of a new technology initiative launched this fall.
The new devices, programs and software will keep the school in step with the changing face of information gathering, officials said.
“Schools used to be a place where we were the keepers of knowledge and children where there to gain knowledge, said Patrick Mussolini, Dobbs Ferry Middle School principal. “Now, there’s an abundance of knowledge. Its now about how to access information, how to synthesize information and how to check the reliability of information.”
The technology will not only enhance the way students gather information, but also provide new and different ways to communicate an understanding of that information, he said.
“Before students would write a three-page essay; they still have that option now, but they can also film a video or create a blog or podcast,” Mussolini said. “There’s different ways to demonstrate that knowledge now.”
Teachers are using iMovie, Google Docs, QR codes, iPads, iPhoto and other technology in their lessons to give students a new way to learn and interact, officials said in a press release. The technology integration allows students to access information more quickly and more tailored to their needs than traditional means of information gathering, Mussolini said.
Although there is a vast array of technology available, the key to successful and effective use is knowing which device to use and when to use it, teachers said in a press release.
“It is important to find a balance. Instruction drives what technology you’re using, not the other way around,” said Ed Feller, a sixth-grade teacher utilizing the new technology. “You have to use these new tools where appropriate and worthwhile.”
Mussolini said the students eagerly have embraced the new technologies because they already are using the devices and programs outside school for entertainment and communication. Teachers also have embraced the upgrades as ways to enhance education.
“The wonderful thing about technology today is that it enables teachers to augment instruction, develop interactive assignments, evaluate outcomes and enrich the curriculum,” said Jennifer Hickey, a sixth-grade teacher using the new technology. “We’re not always running to the library to do research; with iPads and SMART Boards the Internet is at our fingertips. Technology in schools is about sharing information and best practices, as well as furthering communication and analytical discussion among students.”