Grant for BOCES is Internet friendly

Seventh-graders in 30 area school districts will benefit from a $650,000 state grant awarded to Hami

Seventh-graders in 30 area school districts will benefit from a $650,000 state grant awarded to Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery BOCES.

The two-year Enhancing Education Through Technology grant will pay for programs aimed at making sure students are “technology literate” by eighth grade.

But teachers won’t be the only ones teaching, said Lorraine Hohenforst, assistant superintendent at HFM BOCES. In one part of the program, students will help some teachers — those less literate with computers — use technology in their classrooms.

Hohenforst said the grant will pay for a partnership with “Generation Yes,” a nationwide education company that develops programs to help educators improve teaching through technology.

The Generation Yes program provides teacher training, a curriculum kit, Internet support tools and access to the company’s staff for assistance, according to the Generation Yes Web site.

Program topics include lessons on using e-mail, blogs, forums, podcasts, instant messaging and chat, graphics, animation, photography, video, planning and creating multimedia presentations, Web design and others, according to the Web site.

At the outset of the program students will be placed into “clubs,” and club members will take on individual projects that require using computers and technology, Hohenforst said.

Other club members and advisers will review the finished projects to determine whether goals are met, Hohenforst said.

Teachers at individual school districts will be sought to take on the role of club leader.

The club leaders will be trained on how to review projects, what the goals are, and be able to get projects up and running in the fall, Hohenforst said.

A weeklong camp will be developed this summer, where students will learn leadership strategies to help peers demonstrate their technology skills. The camp is expected to help students become comfortable playing the role of teacher as well.

Hohenforst said these students will be able to help their teachers when they want to show their class something from a Web site, access video clips from the Internet, or put together a Power Point presentation.

“These students will be helping their teachers as well on how to use technology in the classroom,” Hohenforst said.

The new grant complements an earlier one that brought training to teachers in local school districts, including Gloversville and Amsterdam, on the use of technology in the classroom, said Stacy Ward, coordinator of instructional services at HFM BOCES.

The earlier grant paid stipends for teachers to become “digital learning specialists,” and the new grant will do the same but add six other districts: Fonda-Fultonville, Fort Plain, Lake Pleasant, Mayfield, St. Johnsville and Wheelerville.

“We’re so excited to offer it to more districts through the second grant,” Ward said.

The digital learning specialists are currently serving as mentors or coaches, Ward said, helping other teachers to make their instruction “come alive” with technology.

The digital learning specialists are also offering courses for teachers at BOCES, Ward said.

Categories: Schenectady County

Leave a Reply