Six members of the Warren Township faculty were invited to speak before the New Jersey Association of School Administrators held at Bally’s Hotel in Atlantic City.
Mary Ellen Roberts, Technology Supervisor and panel coordinator, Steven Verger, Middle School Technology Teacher, Dr. Susan Kline, Gifted and Talented Teacher, Ernest Monaco, Middle School Technology Arts Teacher, Sheila Connelly, Technology Teacher, and Wendy Piller, Gifted and Talented Teacher spoke at TECHSPO 2013, the 18th annual statewide premiere technology conference which was held for New Jersey school superintendents, curriculum supervisors, principals, teachers, technology directors and board of education members.
The objective of the conference was to familiarize school districts with cutting age technological curriculum and products that can enhance learning within the schools.
The team of Warren teachers presented a panel discussion about the Innovation and Design course that is being taught in grades three through eight. Innovation and Design is a pre-engineering course that combines technology with higher level critical thinking skills.
In the elementary schools Innovation and Design is co-taught by the technology and gifted and talented faculty. This hands-on, cutting edge program involves the domains of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and incorporates areas of problem solving into 21st century learning skills. Examples of topics covered in the elementary level include the design and creation of beams, innovative products, mechanical toys and wind towers. The process accelerates in grades six through eight as students design and build solid fuel rockets, earthquake towers, and CO2 Racecars.
The middle school program is co-taught by a technology teacher and the technology arts teacher. Work in these classes involves planning and executing team projects, students learn to hone their collaborative skills in order to create final projects. Ernest Monaco enlightened the audience at the presentation with the fact that already he has seen an increase in the skills the elementary students have brought to his Technology Arts classroom at the Middle School.
“Being invited to present at TECHSPO is a great honor to our district," District Technology Supervisor Mary Ellen Roberts said. "It showcased our Innovation and Design Teachers and their dedication to making this program happen successfully in their classrooms and provide an opportunity to provide an aspect of 21st century education for our students.”
The concept of I and D was introduced to the district by Dr. Tami Crader, Warren Township’s Superintendent of Schools and was piloted in 2011. For further information about the Innovation and Design classes please visit the website www.warrentboe.org/technology/techexpo2013
Submitted by Wendy Piller