By Joyce DeWallace, Contributing Writer
Hudson – The Cloud. Wordles. Tagxedos. Annomoto. Brainpop.? Google Apps.? Digital Citizenship. These are just a few of the words and terms that pepper the technology classes at Quinn Middle School in Hudson.
“Kids today are technologically savvy yet digitally naive. Part of my job and my passion is to teach the technology skills in conjunction with digital citizenship,” said Deirdre D”Urso, integration specialist and fifth-grade middle school technology teacher. “I absolutely love my jobs.”
D”Urso was a classroom teacher in Hopedale for many years and went back to Framingham State for K-12 technology certification so that she could teach and integrate technology into the curriculum. When she started in the Hudson schools, she was the only technology person for three elementary schools. The students used old, clunky desktop computers, which were replaced by brand new Dells through a partnership with Intel.? Material was saved to floppy discs. Gradually the equipment improved along with the advances in technology.
When she began teaching technology classes, the emphasis was on keyboarding, drawings programs, limited Power Point presentations and word processing. Today, the classes use Google docs on the cloud. Each student has his or her own account
and access to all programs. The teachers use Edmodo, which allows shared homework assignments, quizzes, and videos to be uploaded. They can create a site that looks like Facebook.
“There's a lot less paper being used because of Google drive. Nothing gets printed until it's been shared with their teacher and approved for printing,” explained D”Urso.? “I want the kids to see that school can be fun, that learning can be fun, and their devices are fun.”
Every middle school teacher can now sign up for training on computer skills to learn about new applications, programs and websites for any teaching assignment as part of the technology integration project.
“This is the first year that I have so much flexibility to work with other teachers. In my current position, I help the staff find and create technology projects to integrate into their curriculum. There's a lot of co-teaching that goes on. I do teacher training with the newest technology,” D”Urso added.
The new school has been designed to provide equipment in every classroom. In the technology room, there are individual Dell laptops with earphones. The room is equipped with built-in electronic interactive white boards. At the front of the room is a technology podium for the instructors. Every teacher has an iPad, and every teacher team has access to a cart of mini iPads, which can go into all classes.
“By having iPads and Apple, I can walk around the room and work on my device and project on the white board. Everybody can do this, and all the students can see everything on the white board. Students can do the same through Air Play,” D”Urso explained.
New this year is a daily video announcement rather than the more traditional voice over the public announcement system. Two students videotape “the Quinn Spin” every morning, while two other students prepare material for the next morning's video. The students go over the news of the day, the weather, birthdays, the lunch menu, and special announcements. In addition they give the rest of the school a thought for the day, a vocabulary sentence, and a riddle. Drama teacher Melissa Cherry drops in to do a little coaching on the presentations, while the students learn to be comfortable in their role as announcers. The video camera and recording equipment are integral parts of the technology room.
With a brand new school equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, Hudson students are well on their way to knowing how to use their electronic devices safely and wisely, becoming good digital citizens.