For example, teacher James R Moore was able to open student Hailey Pagnotta’s newly started essay on India from his desk screen. He watched her work, and then sent her a quifck “Good job!” message after she typed in a comma following an introductory clause.
12 year old Hailey looked up, startled. Suddenly, a quick “Thanks!” popped uo on Moore’s screen.
Tuckahoe schools this year piloted a technology initiative that could be an education game-changer. The district gave a half-dozen teachers laptops and asked them to work in a “cloud,” a district-contracted Internet site accessible 24/7 to student, parent and teacher on phone, computer or digital pad.
“We are absolutely beginning a transformation,” said schools Superintendent Barbara Nuzzi. “Look at the kids: just concentration and utter engagement.”
For years, schools have used computers as “glass textbooks,” upgraded overhead projectors and filmstrip replacements. While kids have been sharing pictures of their cheeseburgers or watching movie trailers on their phones, the classroom has remained in technology flat line.
About a decade ago, Putnam Valley schools, Nuzzi’s former district, agreed to be a test district for an Apple computers education project, giving students their own MacBooks and creating cloud-based lessons, said Ed Hallisey, Putnam Valley Middle School principal. Now the district has almost an entire generation of students accessing the cloud for classroom work.
“The students we’re educating, they engage differently from students of 10, 15 years ago,” he said. “We’re trying to meet them on their home ground, meet their learning needs by giving them the electronics they’re accomplished on. If you can capitalize on that, it governs everything.”