Students who cannot attend class in person now have the option of easier classroom communication via internet. Rather than have a friend or a sibling bring home communication on assignments or rely on the phone, students can now access online portals and communicate with their teachers via social media.
Teachers across the Pittsburgh region are incorporating more technology into the classroom these days, using laptop and notebook computers, smartphones and other electronic devices to help kids learn.
More than 95 percent of schools in America have Internet access, and school districts are developing web pages and programs that allow students, parents and faculty to interact from anywhere, said David D. Carbonara, director of the Program in Instructional Technology at Duquesne University,
“It gives students the capability to think deeper about more topics,” he said.
Carbonara said software permits teachers to establish things such as tutorials via touchscreen computers that can help students understand everything from fundamental math problems to musical scores.
“The beauty of it is, it’s always there for the students,” Carbonara said. “Maybe I don’t get it the 10th time, and that’s OK. I can still watch it until I understand.”
Moon Area schools use a website and communications platform called Blackboard Engage that allows teachers to post material including class calendars, assignments, grades, research material and web links online for students to access.
Students in Bill Bacu’s accounting class at Moon Area High School were logging on and completing spreadsheets for a mythical company’s daily expenses.
“It’s to prepare them for the outside world,” Bacu said. “If they go to the military, they’re going to be using technology. If they go to the workplace, they’re going to be using technology. I tell them I don’t care if you go to Firestone Tires, you’re going to be using technology.”
Jason Ferri uses a technique known as a flip classroom for his advanced placement students in U.S. History. He records a lecture and posts it online, for students to listen to for homework.
They discuss the lecture the next day in class.
“What that allows us to do in class is to go into a lot of depth and discussion,” Ferri said.
Ferri’s students said they look forward to his class.
“I’ve looked up stuff on my phone when I’m not here, and I can see what he put up there” on Blackboard Engage, said Amber Wesoloski, 15, one of Ferri’s 10th-grade students.
Her mother is equally happy with Moon Area’s online programming.
“We’re able to access it from home, and I can see their grades,” Brenda Wesoloski said. “If you need to contact a teacher, their email is right there.
“It’s very high tech, and I think the kids are getting well prepared for college.”
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