While some schools are gearing down or have already ended classes for the year, JP Case Middle School in Flemington, N.J., held its first ever App Night for parents and students.
Part of the school’s open house for incoming seventh and eighth-grade students, App Night was run by the school’s Technology Council to give parents a sneak peek into the cutting-edge technology used in the classroom. From 3-D printers for projects to Scratch for developing stories, games and apps, parents learned how mobile technology is integrated into the school day and how they can support their children within the mobile world.
“We know that 75 percent of students are visual learners, and technology is something they use every day so we wanted to tap into what they are already doing and use that as a springboard to enhance learning,” said Robert Castellano, principal, JP Case Middle School.
The school is a pioneer in how it embraces technology. Students can view course refreshers via YouTube videos posted by their teachers, follow their teachers on Twitter to get class assignments and collaborate via the school’s use of Google Docs.
Additionally, Google Voice is used in world language classes to help students with pronunciation. Parents and students can also sync their calendars with their teachers so that class projects, assignments and field trips are automatically added to their personal calendars, making it easy to get assignments when a child is out sick or forgets their notebook in their locker.
To stay current on the newest apps and mobile tools, the school runs a Technology Advisory Committee to get input and information directly from students. Teachers, on the other hand, get a 10-minute mini tech training every Thursday morning on a new app or tool that they can use in the classroom.
The school’s first ever App Night delved into the use of technology in the classroom to help with organization and productivity; world languages; social media; and basic skills and enrichment. Recommended apps for learning covered everything from global literacy apps to curriculum review tools and collaboration tools.
“Technology is widespread and is part of the fabric of their lives,” Castellano said. “We would be doing our students an injustice if we didn’t recognize that and have technology come alive for them in the classroom.”