In June 2013, President Obama announced the ConnectED initiative, designed to enrich K-12 education for every student in America. The following year, 2014, PS 25 applied to be part of the ConnectED initiative and had the distinction of being chosen as one of the 13 schools across New York City to be a the recipient of the ConnectED grant in collaboration with the computer giant, Apple. The grant empowers teachers at PS 25 to partner with Apple to obtain the best technology and training to make the most of it. This unique opportunity empowers students through individualized learning and rich digital content. PS 25 primary’s goal through this initiative is to prepare our students with the skills they need to be successful and competitive in the future. Under ConnectED, 100% of our students have access to technology that helps transform the classroom experience for all students.
To this aim, PS 25’s vision is the following:
The Bilingual Cybernauts are the future "Making a difference by inspiring, challenging and connecting our community."
We have set ambitious goals for our students for the years to come. For example, we expect our that students will increase performance by 5% in all content areas by producing artifacts for e-portfolios and improving test scores, and increase performance in writing across all content areas. We expect that our Teachers will enhance teaching practices by integrating technology in “Project Based Learning” opportunities to enhance and deliver highly effective learning experiences. Our commitment is to provide the necessary tools, support, and opportunities for our staff to develop highly effective teaching practices integrating technology. Furthermore, we are committed to engage our parents by providing different opportunities in their children’s education.
This year alone the impact of the technology in our classrooms is already being seen in the following examples:
Personalized Instruction, differentiation and individualization: Students learn at different rates as part as their learning core. Through the digital tools, we are able to accelerate students’ learning rate on an individual basis to obtain a whole group impact.
Digital Tools: We are using the following tools:
Google Classroom (LMS): Teachers post the tasks of the day though this tool.
Scaffold Assessment Protocol (SAP protocol): Students make their learning visible by engaging in problem solving through collaboration (peer to peer discussion, debates).
ILAP: The digital tools enable students to take ownership of their learning because it allows students to monitor their own progress by generating a learning pathway that is unique for each student. Students track their own learning through this tool. It enables them to design their path of learning through multiple approaches/entry points (Power Point presentations, videos, peer coaching, teacher) using digital tools. ILAP works as a stand-alone tool or in conjunction with the SAP. For this protocol, students are provided with a spreadsheet that includes their learning targets and standards. Based on the pre-assessment (SAP protocol- Form 1 and 2) students login to Khan academy. They select the assigned skills and log it in their ILAP. When the skill is mastered they record this level on the spreadsheet. Then, they move to the next skill, without waiting for teachers’ direct instructions. Initially, students support their learning with the videos and the real time data provided. Such learning continues with mini lessons on demand by the teacher within a small group setting. ILAP also serves a conferring tool.
Blogger: Digital Portfolios: Students connect to the outside world through blogger and present a series of artifacts that speak to their learning journey.
Digital Parent Outreach: Class Dojo: Parents access their children’s DOJO accounts and communicate with their teachers.
Multicultural Integration: Our fourth grade classes are participating in a digital pen pal project in which they are connected to other classrooms in Texas and Switzerland.
Digital Projects: Where students become journalists and interview personalities and create iBook projects and iMovie presentations to highlight special events in our school. Our special education kinder class created movies about the five boroughs and iBook projects documenting visits to sites like the Bronx Zoo! Among a special milestone for one of our kindergarten students, with limited communication skills, was to be able to emulate animal sounds for her video presentation.
As we can see with this technology, the opportunities for our students to be creative are endless!