Student Voices : Students share their favorite tools and projects
Documenting the Action
|Marianapolis Prep School’s Tech Crew, the school’s student technology club.
At Marianapolis Prep School in Thompson,
CT, the athletics department wanted help filming
and sharing footage of games with select audiences.
The administration team wanted a solution for
recording major school events using an in-house
AV team. Enter TechCrew, the school’s student
technology club. The administration team at
Marianapolis made a commitment to purchasing
the needed AV equipment to take on the task,
which gave the TechCrew the capacity to film, edit,
and share stunning video projects.
Students from the TechCrew began filming
school events in HD quality, using in-house
equipment. During the process, they learned how
to professionally edit the footage and publish
the final product on the school Web site. Student
athletes who were pursuing athletic scholarships
could then use these high-quality videos and share
them with recruiters. The school also gained a full
production studio that includes two cameras and
a video editing studio. The studio gave students
the ability to create custom-labeled, lightscribed
DVDs from live-streaming events on the school’s
Web site or from programs streamed from a
“It takes a lot of gumption to ask the
administration for such a significant amount of
capital investment,” says Dan Adiletta, Manager of
Educational Technology. “But taking on that level
of responsibility is what has created this incredible
sense of empowerment among the TechCrew.”
High school freshman Joel Cheney, a student
who spearheaded the project, adds, “I was so happy
to hear that we were finally going to start filming
sporting events for our school. These videos gave
our basketball players a huge advantage, and they
were a great resource to help them get into a good
school. With these tools, we were able to make a
DVD with all of their highlights for the year, and
then we were able to send them out to prospective
schools. These clips made our program and our
school look more professional.”
Note: Marianapolis Prep School educator Dan
Adiletta will present more student projects at Tech
Re-Imaging Art through
At the New Milford High School in New
Jersey, art teacher Mrs. Morel wanted to
challenge her advanced drawing class with a
trip to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
in New York City that would have an impact in
the classroom long after the visit was over. She
decided to partner with media teacher Mr. Pevny
to combine art instruction with technology.
|Digital MoMA Project by Tariq Khan titled “Attack”
Prior to the museum trip, her students
researched the history of photography and
learned how artists have utilized this medium to
document and create art. They focused primarily
on unconventional photographic methods and
innovations in photography and photomontages.
Mr. Pevny taught them how to handle cameras,
take photos that made an impact, and use Adobe
Photoshop and Lightroom to manipulate photos.
When they visited the museum, students
used cameras and electronic devices to document
their findings from both the exhibitions and their
experience. Upon their return from the MoMA,
students completed their own “pieces,” based
upon their experiences at the museum.
|Kindergarten students at the Terakki Foundation Schools in Istanbul, Turkey draw characters for their digital games.
High school senior Tariq Khan decided to use
photos he took of sculptures at the MoMA and
combine them with his own photos of various
New York City surroundings to create a unique
artistic collage. Tariq used a Nikon 3100 DSLR
camera to document his experience, and then he
cropped and edited his photographs using Adobe
Lightroom. Finally, using Adobe Photoshop
(CS4), Tariq digitally rendered his collage
using multiple images imported from Adobe
Lightroom. Some of the artistic techniques Tariq
used included photo montaging, color theory,
composition, and digital mastery.
Learning Language with
Kindergarten students of the Terakki
Foundation Schools in Istanbul, Turkey, created
“Bubble and Pebble” digital games. The children
developed their own learning and teaching
materials by combining their English, IT, and
animation skills, and they shared their results
with children from all over the world.
First, they drew and colored the two main
characters, the boy “Bubble” and the girl
“Pebble,” based on objects and backgrounds
from existing games. Next, the children learned
how to animate pictures for the digital games and
put the drawings together as frames of a stopmotion
animation. The children then recorded
their voices in
English, thus giving
them an opportunity
to practice their
English. Each child
did something to
design the digital games, and some children also
suggested drawings they had made at home to
be included in their games. This was an inspiring
and motivational project for the children and the
Catcher in the Rye in the
|Eleventh grade students in an English literature class at Leadership Public School’s used Pathbite portfolio’s to do a digital literary analysis of the literary classic Catcher in the Rye.
Amy McGeorge, an 11th-grade teacher at
Leadership Public Schools in the San Francisco
area, was challenged to keep both her high performing
students and her less-experienced
learners equally stimulated in her English
literature class. She took on the momentous
task of creating meaningful conversation about
the literary classic The Catcher in the Rye for
both groups of students. She wanted to engage
all of her students by using technology-based
activities. To accomplish this task, she turned
to digital portfolios. Students were given the
following simple instructions to help them get
started with electronic portfolio technology:
* Title your portfolio and describe the project.
* Upload a current photo and introduce yourself.
* Find a piece of music that is inspired by
The Catcher in the Rye and explain its
* Find a link to a map of New York and explain the
significance of Holden’s time in New York City.
* Find an image of Holden. What element of
Holden’s personality does it portray?
* Find a reference to The Catcher in the Rye in
popular culture. How is it still relevant today?
Each student created an electronic
portfolio using curated Web sites, background
knowledge, discussions, and new insights about
the assignment. The project was a huge success.
It taught students how to collaborate around
subject-matter content, it gave students who
were less tech-savvy increased digital literacy
skills, and it
to help them
prepare for college
and the job market.
Digital Storytelling with
Mrs. Cindy O’Kane, a 5th-grade teacher
at Belhaven Middle School in Linwood, NJ,
created the S.P.E.A.K. (Students Performing,
Experiencing, and Acquiring Knowledge)
Project: Digital Storytelling Using PowerPoint.
Students write stories and bring them to life
using animation and narration. The final
project is a cartoon with the students’ voices as
The learning goals for the S.P.E.A.K.
project are teaching students how to animate
and use their oral reading and public speaking
skills with emotion and inflection. Students
learn how to use clip art to create backgrounds
and characters. With the animation tools in
PowerPoint, the students also learn how to move
their characters and record their voices to go
along with the animation.
“I thought it was fun to make the characters
move the way you wanted them to,” says student
Grace M. “I like that you could put your own
voice as the character’s voice. I never used
PowerPoint like that before. I definitely want to
make another cartoon like that again!”
Reading Across Oceans
At Steuart Weller Elementary in the
Loudoun County Public School District in
Ashburn, VA, 4th- and 5th-grade students have
embarked on a year-long virtual experience that
is increasing both their literacy skills and their
cultural understanding. In partnership with
the United Way, students have access to ePals’
In2Books, an e-mentoring program through
which students and their adult e-mentors
engage in online conversations about issues in
books they read together. They also use ePals
to connect with classrooms around the world
for free, using programs such as “Reading
Across Oceans.” Below is a sample activity
that highlights a project the students used with
e-mentors in the United Kingdom.
Fifth-grade students paired up with adult
e-mentors from London and jointly read a
variety of online text accounts about the sinking
of the Titanic.
After reading the texts, students and
e-mentors exchanged online conversations via
the secure In2Books portal, which was closely
monitored by the classroom teacher. Both
students and e-mentors shared perspectives
and background information that were not only
relevant to the story of the Titanic, but also
helped students understand cultural differences.
For example, Ms. Suciu, one of the UK-based
e-mentors, described how a specific passenger,
Wallace Hartley, played his violin until the ship
sank. She also shared how people like him are
remembered in the UK as national heroes.
In the process of exchanging information
about the Titanic, children were able to learn
how to communicate professionally and
respectfully, take more time to correct mistakes,
write clearly, and find their writing voices.
Students at Steuart Weller culminated their
reading activities with a live meeting with their
e-mentors via Avatar Kinect. This program
allows synchronous meetings via avatars that
mimic all movements a person makes, including
facial expressions. During these synchronous
meetings (which can also be conducted via
Skype), both the students and e-mentors
discussed ways that both countries could
commemorate the sinking of the Titanic.
The “Reading Across Oceans” program has
helped students read more effectively, make
cultural and personal connections, and learn
how to become strong writers and orators.