From Kathie Scott, public information coordinator for the Batavia City School District:
Small City in Spotlight for Big Technology
Behind the scenes, The Batavia City School District has been preparing diligently for the national spotlight.
On May 4-6, the District will host a National School Boards Association (NSBA) Technology Tour. Approximately 75 participants from around the United State and Canada have signed up so far to spend a few days in Batavia to see first-hand why the District has dubbed this tour, Small City/Big Technology.
The event will include some “history” and current overviews of how technology is utilized for student learning throughout the District, information outlining the hardware and software installed or accessed, as well as tours of all the schools. During the tours, participants will be able go into our learner-centered classrooms to see the various technological tools in use by teachers and students in diverse subject areas, K-12.
Except for the visitors, it will be a fairly typical day in the District. Some students, for example, will be collecting data, analyzing and converting it into meaningful statistics and then creating circle graphs. Others will work independently on skill-building in subjects from reading to math. Partners will research topics on the internet to help them better prepare for their arguments in a debate. Groups will interact with students from across the District (or in other cases, from across the country) to discuss and critique literature. One class will take digital photos and then edit as part of creating a multi-media presentation for the entire school.
To conclude each school’s tour, small instructional focus groups for the participants will enable District staff to share more specific information and answer questions about how technology fits in with instructional programs, age groups, and subject matter. A small sampling of those topics includes Using the Interactive Whiteboard, The Use of Technology in Data Mining, Educational Games, Technology and Special Education, Videoconferencing in the elementary Class, Technology to Enhance Foreign Language Instruction, Blog It!, Geochaching, and Technology in the Primary Classroom.
Another highlight of the visit will be a technology-on-stage performance, Cinemagic. For Cinemagic, students from all three elementary school choruses will perform a choral revue consisting of 38 songs from well-known movies. This particular multi-media performance was chosen for the NSBA Technology Tour participants because of its integration of technology with music. The schools' three music teachers began holding rehearsals with the 150 students several months ago in preparation for the production, which also was performed for District families, and for students at the three elementary schools. As part of their preparation, students were given rehearsal CD’s, produced with music software, so they could practice at home. In addition to lighting and staging techniques, the performance is notable for incorporating the use of PowerPoint and Moviemaker software.