From the District’s youngest students through High School and in all subject areas,
teachers say the impact of technology even beyond the G Suite has been profound.
High School engineering teacher and science department chair Joe Marencik
has been teaching at Shaker Heights Schools for 29 years. “One of my main goals has
always been to give our students the confidence to solve real-world problems and we’re
still doing that,” he says. “But how our students get to the end result has changed.”
Data collection and analysis that previously required graphing points using pencil
and paper can now be imported quickly into Google Sheets. “Now we can really analyze
trends and perform quick, meaningful, and more interesting analyses of data through
statistics and charts.”
Marencik also has seen an increased interest in the High School’s tech-heavy
design and engineering classes. This year, 45 members of the freshman class enrolled
in Introduction to Engineering, an elective. When the class started a dozen years ago,
there was only enough interest for one section. And today, nearly 50 students are
enrolled in Engineering Applications, an upper level class taken by students interested
in STEM careers.
Boulevard Elementary School kindergarten teacher Elizabeth Shaw says that
technology also leads to positive practical changes. Last year, Shaw accepted an
opportunity from Rizzo to pilot a product called Classlink, a single sign-on platform
that enables teachers and students to use one username and password to access the
District’s digital resources. The software is a game-changer for Shaw because she’s able
to spend more time on instruction and less time helping her students remember their
passwords, which can be challenging and frustrating for five- and six-year-olds.
She adds that what the District’s younger students lack in ability to memorize
multiple passwords, they make up for in skills. “They’re so advanced and they have
an intuitive understanding of how to manipulate a screen,” Shaw says. “Today’s
kindergartners have grown up with Alexa and Siri, so they’re used to getting answers.
And the good thing is that I see them asking more questions because of it.”
Lomond music teacher Cynthia Steiner has found that technology encourages
students to learn from other students, especially with interactive apps like Aurasma,
an augmented reality platform that brings pictures to life. When Steiner’s fourth grade
students learn how to play the recorder, they use Aurasma to make troubleshooting
video tips for each other.
58 WINTER 2019 | WWW.SHAKER.LIFE
Take a virtual tour of technology
in the classroom
at Shaker Heights schools.
See video clips of our youngest students
as well as our soon-to-be
graduates engaged in
21st century learning at
High School senior
Corin Manning and
Dr. Joe Marencik work
on a design project
using a laser cutter.