As middle school students presented their “Tech Talks” projects on cutting-edge technology, they utilized their computer’s camera and microphone to connect with remote-learning classmates. The experience, which was aimed at ensuring a strong classroom community for all students, was part of an assignment in technology teacher Carole DelJuidice’s class.
“The most rewarding part of this school year’s experience has been bridging the gap between both in-person and remote learning,” DelJuidice said. “The technology we have in Bronxville allows us to not only connect with students on all levels, but encourage a class community in a digital world.”
As part of the project, the students researched a topic of their choice, watched videos and took notes before presenting in front of their class. The experience helped them explore different emerging technologies, including hybrid cars, robots, touch screen technology and radar technology, while enhancing their research, documentation, public speaking and reflection skills.
DelJuidice, who participated in the district’s Innovative Designs for Education Learner Active Technology Infused Classroom training over the summer, said she worked to create a program that sets students up for success while sustaining a hybrid model classroom. During this first month of school, the students worked on digital citizenship, computer science, physical computing and all necessary digital skills to be successful in a hybrid environment.
“A goal of mine has been to ensure a classroom community feel for both remote and in-person students,” she said. “I want our students at home to feel supported and connected to our classes.”
In addition, DelJuidice has encouraged her students to complete various activity lists that keep in-person and remote students organized, on the same page and accountable for their assignments. The students have also formed “Home Groups” and have been participating in collaborative activities regardless of their location while adhering to safety guidelines.
“The priority is to honor our students’ social-emotional well-being while expanding their use of technology in an effort to redefine what collaboration looks like in a social-distance setting,” DelJuidice said. “Student groups Zoom during our class sessions and engage in projects with remote students. The purpose of this is to create a stronger class connection and community.”