PNW BOCES Educators Harness Technology to Help Students Succeed

April 10, 2018

At PNW BOCES’ schools and programs, technology is everywhere. It helps nonverbal students “speak.” It gives career-minded Tech Center students a path to summer jobs. And it assists teachers who are always looking for the best ways to engage their students.   

This week, Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES teachers and professional staff highlighted their successes in integrating 21st Century technology into a variety of classroom and program settings. They shared how different devices and applications can be used “to build pathways to success for every student.”
“We have made leaps and bounds in the development of high quality innovative programs and services within our Career and Technical Education and Special Education programs,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lynn Allen, in opening the special technology celebration held Tuesday at the PNW BOCES campus in Yorktown. “We are extremely proud of everyone presenting today and expect their fine efforts to continue far into the future.”

Taken together, the presentations showed how technology has been infused in classrooms throughout PNW BOCES programs – in classrooms geared to special education students, Tech Center students, alternative high school students and adult learners.   

Speech pathologist Kathie Molchan-Hefner said that assistive communication devices have helped nonverbal students communicate their thoughts and needs to their educators. Depending on the extent of their cognitive and physical challenges, students can communicate by pointing to pictures or typing whole phrases on devices that then speak the words.

“They’re no longer stuck in their bodies,” explained Molchan-Hefner. “They’re excited to communicate with us.”

Meredith Markolovic, who teaches English to both high school Tech Center students and adult learners, said her students use their devices in the classroom to scan the Quick Response codes she places in the classroom for different educational purposes. One day, a QR code might direct students to a website for research. Another day, codes might be use for an educational “QR scavenger hunt.” On still another day, she uses the codes to direct students to individualized assignments.

At the Tech Center, educators are also using apps like Go Soap Box to help students quickly review lessons and take short quizzes. They have also implemented the College Central Network to help high school and adult students find internships and jobs that relate to what they have learned.

At Fox Meadow Middle/High School, teacher Martin Kearns uses technology to get the most out of his classes by using an application that helps students draw cross-curricular connections in subject classes. “It can help us double the social studies time while also going through an English class,” he said.

In Special Education classes at the Walden School, teachers are using the DOGO News app and other apps to help students in the autism spectrum stay engaged in the classroom.