With the introduction of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, educators have devoted their efforts toward the academic advancement of all American students. It is not enough to simply revise the curriculum, but instead to incorporate within it problem solving, creative thinking, technological know-how, and interpersonal skills. The administrators and faculty of the Hebrew Academy of Morris County (HAMC) strive to achieve these goals for each and every student. This positive approach is also the impetus to switch our educational model from a pull-out program to an inclusion-based one where students who require remediation (or enrichment) are educated in the typical classroom setting. Without the support of technology this transition would be much more challenging.
The teachers at HAMC use technology as an ally. Interactive whiteboards, one laptop for each middle school student, software recognition programs, and sophisticated scanners are just some of the tools that even the playing field for a wide variety of students. For our students with auditory processing difficulties we transmit information via the Smart Board in a visual and tactile manner. A software program such as Smart Sync enables the teacher to closely monitor a student’s work on his/her laptop and to instantly send notes, providing immediate support and constructive information. A simple voice recognition software program helps to remediate students with fine motor /written expression difficulties who may otherwise feel unable to begin a challenging writing task. A webcam can be used to assist students who require extra reinforcement of concepts by making it possible to review a lesson multiple times.
Technological assistance gives teachers instant access to electronic resources and makes information come alive. Educators using such technology also find that because it is so interactive in nature, it appeals to all types of learners with varying degrees of skills and knowledge. Additionally, lessons can be automatically saved, printed, emailed and posted on websites. Technology allows all of our students to become more active participants in a lesson.
The creative use of technology to support students with diverse needs poses economical and pedagogical challenges to our school and our teachers. There is a heavy price tag associated with technological accommodations, both for the equipment and for the training. Our teachers must utilize technology without compromising the benefits gained from more traditional teaching methods. We have come to realize that through these challenges come optimal outcomes for our students. Technology is a tool that positively supports differentiated instruction and inclusion and is of great value to all the members of the HAMC student body.
Each fall, the seventh grade students in my Jewish social studies class begin the year by participating in the Jewish Court of All Time online simulation. JCAT is an innovative learning adventure that is a joint venture between the University of Cincinnati’s...[More]
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