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Tech integration a growing trend in classrooms

The integration of technology in daily instruction throughout the Oswego City School District has significantly increased student interest, accessibility and opportunities.
Through utilization of SMART Boards, the Google suite, videoconferencing, tech applications, 3-D printers, robotics and other means, OCSD students have propelled to new learning heights. OCSD Technology Director Jamie Sykut commended OCSD staff members for their dedication, patience and recognition of the importance of the ever-changing technological resources for the classroom. That integration, he said, “offers a great platform for the infusion of digital literacy skills that will benefit students throughout their lifetime.”
As the district has aimed to ensure students are fully prepared and life ready, Sykut said that vision also includes support for OCSD educators. He has offered the following incentive to teachers of students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12: show how technology integration had, and will continue to have, an impact on the classroom. Winners, selected by the Oswego City School District Technology Committee, will be awarded a portion of the budgeted funds earmarked for technology use in the classroom.
The second round of technology integration giving will begin in January; submissions will be due in May. Last year, Kingsford Park Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Jessica Burridge worked diligently to increase technology use in her classroom. The more computer-based lessons, research and academic practices had become, Burridge knew having additional devices would benefit students.
She had her students utilize Book Creator on borrowed Chromebooks to create a book about a robot. Students typed out their storyline, recorded their voices, made illustrations and pieced all materials together to create an E-book.
Because of OCSD’s technology supports, she noted increased engagement with her students and various ways for students of all abilities to shine. Burridge’s submission to Sykut was successful and with his help was able to order a few additional Chromebooks for her classroom. Now, she nearly has a full class set. Her goal is to full transition to a Google Classroom system, which will streamline lessons, grading and discovery of learning.
Meanwhile, at Oswego High School, art teacher Stacey VanCampen was also successful in receiving a small amount of funds for her art classes. Sykut said he was impressed with her passion for including technology in an artistic painting assignment.
Her students used computers to research local animals up for adoption and photo editing software to create pop art animal pieces. The lesson, VanCampen said, was held in collaboration with former colleague Marie Dilorenzo, who discussed the significance of the 1960s movement, how it has impacted art today and the awareness of adopting- not shopping- for pets.
New to the 2018-2019 school year, VanCampen said the courses of Foundations in Media Art and Graphic Design require technology for students to be successful. Because she received a small tech grant, she was able to explore the possibility of purchasing Wacom Boards for her classroom. Those special tablets would allow students to “use a stylist like a paint brush” and further enhance their artistic abilities.

Here is an excerpt from “A Story About a Robot Named Bastion,” a story written
and illustrated by Kingsford Park Elementary School fifth-grader Nicholas
Thompson. He and his classmates recently used Book Creator to make their own
audio and/or visual online book, under the direction of teacher Jessica Burridge.

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