IMG_9323On the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, students in accelerated Spanish classes felt as if they traveled from the site of the apparition, at Tepeyac Hill, to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Using Google Maps, they went right to street level and traced the exact directions for their fellow classmates.

Mr. Kurt Paprocki described the enhanced features of Google Maps to his colleagues, encouraging them to extend learning beyond Saint Viator and down to the street level—and even inside certain locations—expanding the classroom walls.

The presentation was just one of the segments in a Tech Showcase on Tuesday that featured all sorts of programs and applications that teachers are using to enhance learning.

IMG_9331“It’s good for teachers to share best practices,” said Maggie Miskowicz, instructional technology coordinator. “So often, our teachers talk only to their colleagues in their own department. This was a great way to hear what other teachers are using, that works.”

Mr. Cory Jensen shared how Social Studies students are using Esri Story Maps to create works of historical fiction that draw from the program’s collection of maps and geography to tell their story visually. One of his assignments was for students to tell a migration story.

“It allows the student to visualize their journey,” Mr. Jensen said, “in a more dynamic way than say, PowerPoint, which just uses photos and text. These stories can include maps, graphs and video as well as text and photos. As long as it includes locations, you can tell a story.”

Science department teachers shared how to use Google Forms for completing and grading homework assignments as well as ACT prep questions, while English teachers demonstrated how to use TurnItIn to give formative feedback on students’ essays and check for originality.

“I could see using that in my Leaders’ Prep course,” commented Mr. Dan Edminster, physical education teacher.

IMG_9326Speaking of P.E., health instructor, Ms. Lisa Wilson, demonstrated how to use the Fooducate app to read and evaluate food labels, while math teacher, Mrs. Julie Reedy, described how advanced math students are making iMovies to present topics to their classmates. They range from Pascal’s triangle, to graphing transformations and synthetic division.

“The kids are always amazed at how well they have to know what they’re doing in order to make one of these movies,” Mrs. Reedy says. “I think of them as creating tutorials.”

IMG_9316A stop in the art studio proved fascinating as faculty members watched objects being created by the 3-D printers in the art department. Right before their very eyes they watched a three-dimensional red lion come to life.

However, gone are the days when it took 24 hours for a 3-D printer to produce. The department’s two new printers are much faster, says Mr. Bill Faltinoski, fine arts department chairman.

“We can make a red lion in under an hour,” he said.

Two more stops during the showcase featured a demonstration in the religion department of EDPuzzle, the innovative video app, which allows teachers to take any video and adapt it at different stop points with notes and questions for students to answer. Teachers also were intrigued with a brief video on entrepreneurship in the business department.

The Tech Showcase was part of the weekly professional development sessions for faculty members, but Ms. Miskowicz suspects it won’t be the last.

“There are just so many apps to share,” she says. “But for our first time, it was a success.”