Fulton Students, Teachers Enjoying Digital Learning Initiative

FULTON – The Fulton City School District’s integration of technology into classrooms and academic lessons has broadened its educational footprint.

Dom Lisi, director of technology, said the district’s Digital Learning Initiative has afforded students increased opportunities to both independently and collaboratively complete tasks through use of several digital tools and resources.

Fulton City School District freshman Kiernan O’Hanlon operates a digital microscope in teacher Dan Mainville’s classroom, as he works on a presentation for the upcoming STEAM night. Mainville utilized the new technology to capture images of various levels of bacteria in water.

What’s most exciting, he said, is seeing students learn from one another and feeling increasingly excited about their FCSD education.

The DLI has provided students with access to either 1:1 devices or classroom sets of Chromebooks, all of which have enabled staff members across all grade levels to utilize additional tech applications, online databases and other digital resources.

District technology coach Dan Sherman was impressed with G. Ray Bodley High School English teacher Briana LaRocca’s encouraged use of Instagram. She had her students create Instagram profiles to highlight characters in a text they read.

Sherman said the project spoke well to how each student understood the content.

While Sherman said GRB is in the “very beginning stages of technology integration,” various departments have begun adopting to the digital learning shift.

He said that although department chairs for both English and math have pushed for innovation, strides have been made in all academic areas.

Lisi said it has been particularly exciting to see students utilize digital microscopes in Daniel Mainville’s science classrooms. The devices have allowed students to see more detail on a laptop and capture images.

He said the discovery model of learning is aided by technology coaches, such as Sherman, who help tailor training workshops and professional development opportunities to the needs and interests of teachers.

“The more technology you can bring to it, you’re coming to them where they’re at,” Mainville said. “It’s made a difference.”

Technology integration has helped teachers better assist students who have become more engaged because of tech tools, which is one of the district’s instructional priorities.

“That has been amazing to see,” Sherman said.

With the elevated use of technology comes increased efforts to further share with students the importance of being a safe and responsible digital citizen. Sherman said not only are students reminded to treat the devices with care, but also how to remain in a safe online environment.

Each time a student at the Fulton Junior High School or GRB starts up their Chromebook, they receive a digital citizenship cue from Sherman.

Throughout the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year, Sherman said the district will offer more exciting technology programs and devices, including virtual reality headsets. FCSD technology offerings, updates and information is shared via the DLI newsletter, which may be found at https://sites.google.com/fulton.cnyric.org/fcsd-dli-news.

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