TRUMBULL, Conn. — Innovation was the name of the game at last week's Board of Education meeting as Rob Miller, president of the Trumbull Technology Foundation, awarded certificates to five teachers whose proposals won Foundation grants for classroom innovation.
Tracey Ormond introduced a 3D printer to her Madison Middle School students. Eighth-graders learn to create objects such as key chains, and seventh-graders make pulleys. Ormond called her project “exciting, engaging and enriching,” and said “additive manufacturing will change (her students’) world.”
Lindsey Carley is teaching third- and fourth-graders to use a GPS for activities, including retracing a voyage of Christopher Columbus, then using Google Apps for Education to create a map of that voyage. In addition to learning the technology, Carley said her students learned the value of collaboration.
Hans Drenkard, a Trumbull High physics teacher, heads up the school’s competitive Robotics Team. He talked about how the students learn to conceive, plan, build and program an autonomous robot — one that uses student-written programs to perform its tasks rather than a radio-control device.
Donna Zimmer, a media specialist at Jane Ryan, initiated a Legos for STEM program, a part of turning her library into a “learning commons,” and bringing STEM into the library. Students used Legos to build animals, vehicles and other small pieces that Zimmer displays on a special wall. She challenged the kids to make things like a “better house for the three little pigs.”
“This is better than Disney World,” one student said.
And Brenda Windsor, a technology integration specialist at Daniels Farm, showed off Osmo for Education. Using an iPad with a mirror that focuses the camera straight down, and, for example, Tangrams, the iPad software guides a student as she replicates an on-screen construction with pieces on her table, then applauds her when she’s done it.
Also at the meeting, Gary Cialfi, superintendent of schools, said this year’s seniors are doing better than 2015’s, with acceptances to 42 of the most competitive colleges, compared with 34 last year.
One of the issues, Cialfi said, is his “great concern” about the size of the Advanced Placement program. This year’s program includes 19 courses with 537 seats. Next year will see growth, with 23 courses seating over 900 students.
A total of 30 percent of this year’s seniors have taken at least one AP course, but that figure will jump to 45 percent for the Class of 2017.