Jan 24, 2014 Joe Genco Uncategorized
Teachers, school administrators and community members gathered in Skaneateles High School on Wednesday, Jan. 22 to cut the ribbon and celebrate the opening of the school’s new Zoom Room.
The Zoom Room is a new computer and technology lab that has all new high definition camcorders, microphones, lights and Apple computers. The equipment was all purchased with a $49,150 grant given to the district by the Skaneateles Education Foundation, who collected donations for the initiative which they called “Zooming In, Zooming Ahead.”
“Now all of our students can have access to the very best equipment and our teachers and students will be creative and exact in their research and their projects because of this room,” Skaneateles Education Foundation President Patti Carey said.
Everything in the room was purchased with donated money and the school district now contributes by maintaining the equipment and providing instruction and support for students to use and learn with the equipment, Carey said.
One of the biggest financial contributors to the grant was Marty and Amanda Cregg, Carey said.
Marty Cregg, President of Skaneateles-based Chase Design, had helped set up a similar lab at the University of Notre Dame and was also able to assist the school in designing and developing the specifications for the room, Paul Blair, the district’s technology director, said.
One of Cregg’s ideas was to have all the tables and equipment in the lab to be on wheels so they can be rearranged to fit the needs of whatever project students are working on, Blair said.
The evening also included a screening of a yet-to-be-completed documentary film about the Zoom Room grant filmed and put together by Skaneateles junior Elizabeth Lane.
Blair said Lane approached him with interest when she heard about the grant. He then proposed she put together a video telling the story of how the Zoom Room came to be by interviewing teachers, administrators and community members who were involved in the process.
Lane was also on hand at the ribbon cutting shooting additional footage which will be added to the final version of the video.
In the film, High School Principal Gregory Santoro said the new technology will be a stepping stone to helping students discover new interests and possible career paths. The high school could possibly also add a new elective course centered on using the equipment in the Zoom Room, he said.
In recent years, assignments involving students filming and putting together video projects have become more and more common, starting as early as sixth grade.
Middle school teachers Jim Ryan and Rob Tuttle said the new technology capabilities will greatly help them in video and computer based projects that are already a part of the curriculum for all students.
All eight grade students complete a project in social studies class called “Windows,” for which groups of students interview community members who have lived “a life worth knowing.”
With the Zoom Room students will be able to use the green screen to film themselves with a variety of backgrounds and will use iMovie software and higher quality camera equipment than was previously available, Ryan said.
Though the school already had some video cameras, in the past, some students didn’t have access to cameras at home and could be at a disadvantage. With the new set of cameras and equipment, all students will have equal opportunities, Ryan said.
Tuttle who teaches a one-marking-period introduction to technology course for eight graders, said the Zoom Room will greatly further his ability to teach students basic computer and technology skills which will equip them to do multimedia projects in the middle school and high school.
“In the class, I try to expose eight graders to as many technologies as I can, so this will help with that,” Tuttle said.
Joe Genco is the editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.