East Syracuse-Minoa middle school students demonstrate new education technology kits for Assemblywoman Christensen
East Syracuse-Minoa middle school students demonstrate new education technology kits for Assemblywoman ChristensenJune 12, 2009Jennifer Russojhrusso@syr.edu
Assemblywoman Joan K. Christensen (119th NYS Assembly District) visited Pine Grove Middle School in the East Syracuse-Minoa School District (ESM) today to see first hand how students are making use of nine digital video technology kits. The kits, which are part of a program to enhance the learning experience of the middle school students, were purchased using $23,800 in state funding acquired by Christensen.
“Young people are comfortable using digital games, computers, cameras and other high-tech devices for play and fun, but they are not yet very good at transferring their ‘play’ experiences with technology to ways of learning and becoming more productive,” says Christensen. “Our goal in providing the video technology kits is to support young people in learning how to use digital technologies as tools to enhance their learning, to pursue their interests, and to build better interpersonal communication skills.”
Christensen and other visitors watched a presentation of the students’ work in progress and also observed students in the midst of the editing process as they used computer-based editing software. And the students had a Q&A session with Christensen while videotaping her responses–a miniature press conference.
The kits are part of a pilot program designed by Tiffany A. Koszalka, associate professor of instructional design, development and evaluation in Syracuse University’s School of Education, in collaboration with ESM’s Timothy Patterson, seventh-grade technology teacher. The instruction is designed to help students develop technical literacies while practicing with a variety of new design and technology development processes. As they take part in the program, the students will acquire new skills, such as seeking and evaluating information, video production and collaboration.
“Kids today are bombarded with new technologies and bits and bytes of information. They are growing up with digital technologies, which they appear to grasp quickly and use fearlessly,” Koszalka explains, adding that technology is primarily a source of entertainment and that young people do not really know how to use these tools to help them learn more effectively or be more productive.
“New digital technologies are exciting, and they can be used to help our youth organize new information, develop alternate perspectives on complex issues, search for information, and express their knowledge in more effective and satisfying ways,” she says.
The kits include the digital equipment and software to allow students to produce and edit a variety of projects in either formal or informal learning environments. Each kit consists of a video camera/tripod and light, microphone, computer, editing software and carrying case.
The digital video technology program is part of an ongoing initiative in the ESM district to provide students an enhanced learning environment while giving them an opportunity for hands-on experience with advanced communications technology.
“The students involved in this project are very excited to be able to use this high-end video equipment,” Patterson says. “It has allowed them to collaborate on videos that have a purpose outside of the classroom. We will be using the videos during orientation events to ease the transition from elementary school to middle school. The middle school students have the perspective needed to create videos on this topic.
“The students have benefited by being given the opportunity to work on a project that has meaning to their peers. In their videos, the students addressed middle school issues that most affect their peers,” Patterson says.
“Our district welcomes the collaboration with Syracuse University in support of our strategic plan’s vision, mission and goals in developing partnerships for learning,” says Donna DeSiato, superintendent of the East Syracuse-Minoa Central School District. “Digital video technology integrates 21st-century learning skills in our classrooms and enhances student learning with real-life application. ESM thanks Assemblywoman Christensen for her continued support for education.”
“We are trying to use these video technology kits to capture kids’ curiosity, imagination and problem-solving abilities,” says Koszalka. “Our goal is to help them see the power these technologies can bring to their own learning, to engage them in ways that let them share their learning with others, and to prepare them for the interdisciplinary, collaborative and technology-supported challenges they will face in their futures.”
For more information about the Pine Grove Middle School digital technology program, contact Koszalka at 443-5263; Judy A. Morgan, executive director of curriculum, instruction and accountability, East Syracuse-Minoa Central School District, at 434-3005, extension 2631; or Kathy Ludovico, executive director of Assemblywoman Christensen?s office, at 449-9536.