Guest Blogger: Joanne Maselli

In the end, it’s about the kids.

I had the privilege of attending the Aquinas Expo in Brooklyn last Wednesday.  Initially, I was there just to observe, but was immediately drafted by Anthony Biscione to be one of the judges (and who can refuse Anthony?)  Kudos to Patti Ventri along with Cathy Kenny on all their hard work in organizing the event. And a special thank you to Rosemary McGoldrick for hosting.

It goes without saying that any projects from the Aquinas Society are excellent.  We danced along to music of the 80’s while viewing an array of wonderfully constructed models of Tenements and Medieval Castles, and the replica of the human heart left a lasting impression. Students were motivated to take action by collecting funds when working on a world hunger project. From the first Barbie dolls, to examining life without electricity, the topics were interesting, relevant, and downright fun.

Being with the Catholic Telemedia Network, I was particularly interested in seeing how technology was incorporated into the various exhibits.  I was impressed by many of the slide shows and the computer generated posters.  No research could have been complete without the internet.  What I didn’t expect was the variety of ways in which it was used.  Of course, basic research was done.  Additionally, primary documents were found, non-fiction novels were read and virtual tours were taken.  The Internet is live and interactive and was used that way to “test” our senses. Perhaps most impressive, was the creative use of I-Pads to show recorded videos of students reporting on their topic.   Sometimes, even the simplest technology works well too.  A basic light bulb placed in a foam sphere with punched out holes provided a visual to show statistics.  The creativity was endless.

Upon reflecting back on the day’s events, something which should be obvious crossed my mind.  This technology; this Expo; these projects are there for one reason… for the students to learn.  And learn they did.

Hopefully, by now, we are all using technology in the classrooms, but is it relevant as well as creative?  What can your students learn, beyond basic facts, to make it all about the kids.

These are some pictures of projects taken at the Aquinas Expo:

Tenement
Immigration project
Lightbulb in Globe

 

May 11, 2012