Interactive Whiteboards (SMART Boards) are used as replacements for traditional whiteboards or flipcharts. Anything that can be presented on a computer’s desktop, such as educational software and websites, can be shown to the entire class with a SMART Board. They also allow teachers to record their lessons and post the material for review by students at a later time. Some of the ways SMART Boards can be used include: saving lessons for students who are absent, creating video files to teach a software application, using the built-in maps to teach geography, creating and making presentations, brainstorming ideas, taking notes directly into a PowerPoint presentation, reinforcing skills by using on-line interactive websites, and teaching students how to navigate the internet.
A Document Camera (Elmo or Smart Cam) is like an overhead projector that doesn’t use transparencies. A teacher can place any object on the platform of a document camera, and a video camera connected to a projector or a SmartBoard displays the work. Elmos can be used for shared reading, science experiments, and for students to share their work with the entire class. There are approximately 60 Elmos/SmartCams in the district on a cart with a projector so they can be moved from class to class.
PowerSchool is a fully integrated, web-based student information system that maintains all student data, including medical history and parent and emergency contact information, and integrates and automates attendance, scheduling, classroom grading and reporting. Through the “Parent Portal” on the district’s website, parents can access their children’s grades and report cards.
Blackboard Communications system is a web-based service that allows schools to send up to 100,000 messages in 15 minutes. The Chester School district uses the system to notify parents of emergencies, events, bus changes, etc. directly to parents’ phones, via call or text, and email. Attaching notices to Blackboard messages eliminates paper use and reduces the district’s copying costs. Blackboard syncs with our Student Information System. Parents can update their contact information through Powerschool at https://powerschool.chester-nj.org/public/home.html. Notification preferences can be updated at any time by logging on at https://chesternj.parentlink.net/.
The district subscribes to Study Island, a web-based instructional program to help students in grades 3 through 8 gain confidence when taking the New Jersey State Assessments (PARCC, Etc.) exam. Students can access the program on-line where they will find each topic organized with a lesson, assessment questions, and explanations.
The district also subscribes to Discovery Education streaming, an on-line resource where teachers can access tens of thousands of full-length videos segmented into hundreds of thousands of content-specific clips tied directly to state and national curriculum standards. There is a reason classrooms don’t look the same as they did 10 years ago. Discovery Education takes teaching to the next level with the most comprehensive classroom resource covering all major curriculum areas for K-12
Valerie Fund support has assisted a homebound student by providing a VGo Robot that allows the student to attend school remotely. Using the robot in BRMS and controlling it from his home or the hospital, the student can efficiently move from class to class, hang out at lunch and attend assemblies! It is a real game changer!
With the help of the PTO (Link: http://bit.ly/1KOu3RF) and the Educational Foundation of the Chesters (Link:http://bit.ly/1zaVmOM) the district has been able to pilot many technology programs that augment the education process in ways that would not be possible without their support.
The New Jersey Department of Education requires each school district to submit a three-year Technology Plan. The Chester School District's most recent Technology Plan is attached. Also attached are presentations on the new Innovation and Design and Computer Applications curricula.