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Baltimore County magnet school seamlessly integrates technology

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November 19, 2012 09:23 pm


This blog is a guest post from Dana Novotny and Flo Falatko, educators at Cromwell Valley Elementary Regional Magnet School of Technology in Towson, Maryland. It is part of our Digital Learning Day series. You can read all the posts in our ongoing series here.

All students at Cromwell Valley Elementary Regional Magnet School of Technology (CVE) participate in a rigorous technology magnet program. This program reflects our belief that in order to be successful and productive in the 21st century, students need to use technology as a tool to enhance their knowledge base and communication skills.

As you walk through the halls of CVE you see students and teachers seamlessly integrating technology. The school day at CVE starts with our tech-based Morning Announcements, produced by and starring CVE students. Classes view these announcements through Safari Montage® on their interactive whiteboards. All students participate in this activity throughout the year.

As you continue through an average day at CVE, you might visit a classroom and see the teacher and students utilizing the interactive whiteboards, electronic every pupil response systems, document cameras, and/or digital cameras. Students use productivity software and the Internet to conduct research and create collaborative products that communicate ideas.

Some classes may be engaged in a Skype session with a partner school from another state or country. Every class works with a partner class somewhere within the United States. Classes communicate using Web 2.0 tools such as Skype®, Edmodo, Voicethread®, and Kidsblog. Projects span from learning about each other’s state and culture, partnered research projects, to collaborative writing projects.

Several grades recently participated in a descriptive writing project where students at CVE wrote a description of an object and orally related it to students from their partner schools. The partner school students listened to the descriptions and attempted to draw the items. This fun project gave a real audience to the students’ writing projects.

Fifth grade students participated in a Skype® lesson about Paul Fleischman’s novel, Joyful Noise, with their partner class from Hawaii. Our fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Falatko, taught both classes via Skype®, how to read and write Poems for the book. Successive lessons and the final writing project were completed using Edmodo.

Students from each state partnered to write original Poems for Two Voices. Students were able to participate in a Skype® reading session of their poems in order to share with all their classmates. This lesson won the Maryland Society for Educational Technology award for a lesson plan integrating technology.

In addition to working with partners, some classes took part in special projects. During their study of the states, fourth graders participated in a Voicethread® project that involved students from over twenty states.

A kindergarten class collaborated with a class from Spain after reading Jan Brett’s children’s book, The Mitten, to rewrite the story using characters or animals native to their home.

Fifth grade students explored angles in nature with a school from India. This allowed students from both countries to use math to understand the natural vegetation of each others’ homes. Students created their projects on Microsoft PowerPoint™ and shared them on a Wiki space.

During the 2011-2012 school year, all students participated in a distance learning experience with field experts at museums, zoos, universities, and science centers through video conferencing.

As you can see students at CVE are engaged in a 21st century learning experience, collaborating and learning with students around the world!

Dana Novotny is the technology integration instructor at Cromwell Valley Elementary Regional Magnet School of Technology. She has taught technology for grades K-5 and to staff for 11 years. Flo Falatko is a 5th grade teacher at CVE. She integrates technology with content areas on a daily basis

Digital Learning Series

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