OSSINING, N.Y. – The Ossining School District may struggle later this year in balancing the district’s budget, but staff at the district are determined to stay at the cutting-edge of today’s technology in the classroom and they are saving money doing it.
The district held a special program called Digital Learning Day at the Ossining High School Library on Wednesday to educate students and staff members on the dozens of digital resources available at the schools. Students and teachers attended workshops on digital photography, website management, e-books, games and apps, digital music and digital art.
Jennifer Forsberg, the district’s assistant director of technology, also led the Ossining Board of Education in a demonstration Wednesday of some of the tools available in the district.
“As these technologies and programs are being developed, we’re adding them to the classrooms and making them a part of the curriculum,” Forsberg told the board Wednesday. “So students will learn the tool and integrate it into each project.”
Forsberg highlighted SCRATCH, a program developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that allows students to create their own video games using applied computer, math, art and science skills. SCRATCH is set to be available throughout Anne M. Dorner Middle School next year and should be free to the district, Forsberg said. At Ossining High School, students are using free online portfolio programs to develop a body of work before graduation and new free iPad apps and web-based tools that allow for digital testing.
Board members said they were thankful that several programs presented would help save the district more than $14,000 next year. The district is facing up to a $4.4 million budget gap.
Sudha Narsipur, Ossining Public Library informational specialist, helped organized Digital Learning Day to teach staff and students at the same time about the different pieces of technology available at the district.
“Digital learning is not just handing a student a laptop or iPad,” Narsipur said in a press release. “It is critical thinking. It is knowing what is available and how to use it.”