Thursday, May 19, 2016

Looking Back. . . Moving Forward

Looking Back

As hard as it is to believe, my 12th year in education is rapidly coming to an end. It has been a year of growth and change in my professional life. Thanks in large part to the willingness and cooperation of the teachers and administrators with whom I work, I've had the opportunity to pursue several personal interests and bring them to the students of Franklin Area School District.

  • ROBOTICS - FASD has laid the ground work for a robotics program that will reach students in elementary school tech clubs all the way to high school technology classes. 
  • CODING - More FASD students are being exposed to coding skills than ever before - some through the Hour of Code and others by working through curriculum from code.org and in working with Scratch, Alice, and similar programs. 
  • AUGMENTED REALITY - The hallways of Franklin Middle School and Victory Elementary have now become more interactive with the inclusion of augmented reality features. 
  • 3D PRINTING - This emerging technology is working its way into many different subject areas in our schools. The district has purchased several 3D printers, making this technology more readily available than ever before to the teachers of our district.
  • SHARING IN THE PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY - I was thrilled to present at PETE&C with Jeffrey Fonzo and Dr. Samantha Fecich concerning our use of augmented reality technology in our schools. Even more exciting was seeing Jackie Thurau and Kim Shirey, along with several Sandycreek Elementary 4th grade students, sharing their use of 3D printing at the 2016 STEAM Showcase in Meadville in April.  
These are just a few of the ed. tech. highlights from the 2015-2016 school year. I'm looking forward to working with more teachers in the implementation of technology in the classroom when we return in the fall. I firmly believe that the tools available to teachers will truly make our jobs easier, freeing up more time to actually teach and these same tools will lead to higher levels of student engagement and excitement than we've ever seen before.

Moving Ahead

As I usually do when the end of the school year is so close, I'm thinking about what this summer has in store for me. Looking ahead, it should be jam packed with fun and education. Here's the current agenda.
  • VACATION - I'll be traveling for the first time to the Outer Banks in just a couple of weeks. I am blessed to be vacationing with my family along with some of our closest friends.
  • CODING - The incredible Grove City Community Library has agreed to allow me to host a Coding Club for the children of Grove City beginning June 20. This club will be divided into two different age groups and will run from 10-11am and 11:30-12:30pm every Monday until July 25. Should be lots of fun! For more information on this and other exciting children's programs being offered this summer, check the library website!
  • READING - In addition to reading the latest Brad Thor novel, I'm looking forward to participating in a book study with my colleagues of Central Elementary as we read and discuss Teach Like a Pirate. I've heard great things about this book and look forward to checking it out for myself!
  • FAMILY TIME - I always look forward to the time I'll get to spend with my kids. Last year, my two oldest and I worked through Project #1 in the fantastic book Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred as we created Lock and Latch Treasure Chests. I can't wait to develop some soldering skills as we complete the switchbox project!
  • SWIMMING - My family basically lives at the Memorial Park Pool each afternoon of the summer. A good friend and I will actually be starting a blog about the time we spend with our kids at the pool each day and other random adventures we may take - golfing, hiking, #DDT (Dunkin Donut Tuesdays - it's a thing!), etc. Please follow our journey by clicking here!
Any big summer plans? Leave a comment below!

As always, it is a pleasure working with each and every one of you. Have a wonderful summer!

Cheers,

Justin