School is offering a new student technology team course in which students
learn collaboratively in a simulated work environment.
The new class, an
advanced elective for eighth-graders, is the brainchild of CMS business
teacher Toni Biancardi, who brought two of her students to the Duneland
School Board’s meeting Monday night to talk about their work. The students,
Ethan Kroft and Chris Israelite, handed each of the board members an iPad
for the presentation and talked about their experiences.
The goal of the
class, according to Biancardi, who has a background in retail management, is
for the students to provide public relations support to CMS teachers and
community partners in a simulated work environment. The course is structured
as though Biancardi is the bossŃshe receives work requests and then assigns
them to students. After students complete a project, they solicit reviews of
their work from their “clients.” Twenty-three students have completed over
100 projects this year.
Both Israelite and
Kroft told the board that they enjoyed helping teachers and other students.
Kroft said that he recently worked on converting worksheets to Google Docs,
creating quizzes per teacher instructions, and building a cookbook for the
FACs class. Israelite said that he liked choosing his work. “It’s really
nice to have the trust from Mrs. Biancardi,” he added.
One of the
highlights of the class was a service learning project where the students
took photos and videos at Frontline Foundations Hooked on Art street
festival for the organization’s website and social media. A group from the
class has also started using a cart of audio visual equipment to live stream
events through Twitter and Facebook. Biancardi said that group is writing a
how-to guide for the cart because even she doesn’t know how to use it yet.
“They do a lot of figuring it out and then teaching it to me.”
Biancardi also said
she has enjoyed seeing the students become more independent and connected to
their work. “They love the idea of empowered learning. They are choosing the
work. They are planning it. It’s just exciting.” She added, “Students are
regularly engaged in work that requires them to engage with their teachers
and peers and problem solve on their own.”
thanks to CMS staff, the school board, and the Duneland PTO for support in
planning and implementing the new course. She also said the students want to
do more service projects to help the Duneland Community. Interested
organizations can contact Biancardi at 219-983-3776 or email@example.com