The Massapequa school district is testing out a web application that allows students to pull up homework and other documents they receive from their teachers from any computer.
It's called haiku and it has proved quite popular amongst teachers and students who've tried it out in the district.
"This is a game changer, this allows for a different way of teaching," said Bob Schilling, the district's Executive Director for Assessment, Student Data & Technology Services, who briefed the Massapequa Board of Education on the system last week.
Haiku is a Learning Management System, which provides a number of tools to educators.
"it's a website that a teacher manages on their own and inside that website teachers have the ability to pull up anything that they'd normally hand to a student," Schilling said.
"Any document, any study guide. They don't hand it to the student anymore , they put it up on their side, and students can get it from anywhere. If they're on vacation, they can pull it up.and grab it, so if you're home sick, the information is there."
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The system also includes a calendar that can post events to any students who have an account and a homework drop box, which allows work to be electronically scored.
"Insetead of Homework being a review of what you did today, it can be a preparation for what you're going to do tomorrow,"
The district has been searching for such a system for several years and began trying it recently, according to Jenifer Stegerwald, the district's Executive Assistant for Digital Curriculum and Support.
"We've done an unofficial pilot [program] since the last week in April ," she said.
"We haven't announced this to anyone. We've tapped people on the shoulder and said, 'Hey, do you want to try this?'"
They've had more than 24,000 hits on the site so far, she said.
THe district is going to continue to offer the service around and gage interest among students and teachers.
It costs about $4 per student, but Schilling said they're looking into the possibility of receiving aid from Nassau BOCES.
Although demand has seem to have grown quickly, not everyone believes it's needed for the district.
During the Board meeting's question and answer period, former school board candidate Joseph Marsh asked what purpose the technology would serve since it didn't appear to have been introduced in response to any particular problem.
"I would phrase it differently," Schilling said. "I I'm not looking to solve a problem, I'm looking to create an opportunity. Right now teachers have been working with kids within the boundaries of the classroom and that has been working for years. But with the technology we have available, now we have an opportunity to expand that. That provides value."
The district said they will likely introduce haiku into some summer programs.