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New Technology Position at Anne Hutch & Greenvale

Technology Teachers Generate Creativity 

By Grace Noone

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Two veteran Eastchester teachers teamed up this year to support students and their fellow teachers navigate technology in the classroom. The District assigned David O’Neil and Anthony Rich to the newly created position of technology teacher at Anne Hutchinson and Greenvale.

As part of their roles in each school, the teachers provide what Rich calls ‘just in time or emergency support’ for children and students who may encounter technical issues with their devices. Both Rich and O’Neil have one free period where they act as a liaison with the IT Department.

“David and I have a great working relationship with the Technology Department where we support and complement each other,” said Rich. “We have one technician assigned to our buildings, if we can assist a student or a staff member while our technician is working with another member of our school community, we all succeed.”

The teachers also collaborate, coach their peers and discuss best practices of teaching while they solve the problem at hand.

“The evolution of this position could not have come at a better time. Teachers, students and families have embraced technology in the classroom and at home in a way that we have never seen before and we would like to believe our presence at Greenvale and Anne Hutchinson improves the teaching and learning,” noted O’Neil.

Anne Hutchinson fifth grade teacher Katie Curry couldn’t agree more. “At the beginning of the year when we were dealing with so many technology issues it was as if Mr. O’Neil were a genie that would somehow know when to show up. He would fix many problems within seconds.  He is always so genial and careful to show you how to fix the problem if it were to happen again and we needed it done quickly.”  

As technology classroom teachers, O’Neil and Rich meet with every class once a week and provide technology instruction and library research skills. They teach the fundamentals of Google suite, research, 3D CAD design and coding, even to the youngest students in second grade. 

“We have a fixed set of skills that we impart to second and third graders to ensure that all students have the same strong foundation,” said Rich.

 

Teachers have seen their students evolve. “Technology has motivated my second grade students this year. They look forward to having time on their devices to explore and learn. They are using what they have learned and taken it to a whole new level by creating Google slides and presentations to share,” said Greenvale second grade teacher Lisa Gerkin. “The students are able to access videos, audio books and interactive websites to facilitate multisensory learning. Not to mention they are having fun at the same time.”

 

Students in fourth and fifth grade develop their skills at a higher level and work with programs like Tinkercad and Scratch. During a recent lesson, Greenvale students designed a 3D treasure box complete with hinges. Students at Anne Hutchinson made 3D flowers that resemble the work of pop artist Takashi Murakami.

The students gain practical experience from their technology classes that complement the modern-day library. Students learn how to research and find trusted sources. Fourth grader Sabrina Soto said, “We learn a lot of computer skills that will help us later on.” She continued, “We problem-solve.” 

Greenvale teacher Danielle Dachik commented, “I have seen my students approach their learning with excitement and enthusiasm.  They have learned to use technology as another valuable tool to support themselves in their learning, to solve problems, and to show their knowledge in new and creative ways. Most importantly, they approach this change with curiosity and perseverance.  I truly believe my students have gained skills that will allow them to problem solve and learn in new and innovative ways.”

There are no limits to where the keyboard will take them; technology class has unleashed the imagination of students who have designed animated basketball courts, 3D pumpkins and flower vases.  “Just wait and see what we have up our sleeves next year!” Rich adds.