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September 19, 2018

Border Buddies And Technology Come Together


Submitted Article

OSWEGO, NY – Later this year four Frederick Leighton Elementary School students will be bound for Calgary, Alberta, where they will join other “border buddies” from the United States and Canada.

Leighton sixth grade teacher Cathy Kelly became involved with a unique “Connections” program that provided not only immediate, but long term benefits for her students.

Leighton teacher Cathy Kelly along with students Nick Whiteside and Ben McCrobie display a document camera-web cam and a wireless airliner that were presented to her as part of a grant involving SMART technology and the “Border Buddies” program.

Leighton teacher Cathy Kelly along with students Nick Whiteside and Ben McCrobie display a document camera-web cam and a wireless airliner that were presented to her as part of a grant involving SMART technology and the “Border Buddies” program.

Kelly said, “I wanted to have a SMART Board in my room, but wasn’t on the list last year. I found a grant fro SMART Technologies that would supply me with some of the educational tools I was seeking. I applied and surprisingly was one of only a few teachers who were selected.”

More than 4,100 applicants submitted their names for grant consideration and when the final list was completed there were two teachers from Calgary and one each from Toronto, Alaska, Colorado, Texas, Georgia and New York.

Kelly had been selected and the adventure commenced.

Kelly said, “The majority of the participants were from much larger areas than Oswego as teachers were from Dallas, Denver, Atlanta and Anchorage as well as two major Canadian metropolitan areas. It is really something for Oswego N.Y. to be involved.”

She noted, “I was excited about this tremendous opportunity and honored to represent the Oswego City School District. This is a great way to expose kids to great technology opportunities. This has been one of the highlights of my professional career.”

During the summer she traveled to Calgary for training which involved the SMART Board concept.

She said, “My students will really benefit from this as I received a SMART Board, camera, wireless airliner, and many types of software.”

While in Calgary she noted, “I was involved in an enormous amount of training. The SMART Institute was where they developed the SMART Board technology and we went through intense training for 10 hours a day.”

She noted that there was collaboration on curriculum-based projects with the goal of encouraging mutual respect and understanding among students in the United States and Canada.

Upon her return to Oswego she noted, “We will be involved with interactive lessons with teachers that were in Calgary.

Kelly treasured every moment that she was able to participate in this training, but more importantly is the next step.

She said, “Late in this school year each teacher that participated will return to Calgary for eighth days with four sixth grade students. These students will have the opportunity to intermingle.”

Continuing she said, “These students will be in contact with one another throughout this school year via email, snail mail and through conferencing. They will be ambassadors from Frederick Leighton Elementary School. As ‘Border Buddies’ they will be exposed to things they’ve never seen before.”

The students will visit Lake Chestermere, various attractions and sites around Calgary and visit the SMART Board complex.

Kelly said, “They will be able to bond with the others. There will be no lap tops or cell phones. The idea is to develop friendships that will last a lifetime. This will be an opportunity to celebrate being a child and congratulate them for all the hard work they have done.”

Currently the Frederick Leighton Elementary School is starting the search for those four students who will travel to Calgary.

Kelly said, “This is not going to be an easy task as there are numerous deserving children at Leighton. However, when they are selected this will be a tremendous opportunity and an experience of a lifetime.”

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