Enhancing Learning: Hatboro-Horsham High School

In the second year of their Classrooms for the Future (CFF) grant, teachers at Hatboro-Horsham High School are learning that technology is more than another student engagement device. New challenges require teachers to look at assessment and curriculum, all the while acclimating to the new pace of planning, teaching, and learning at the school. While evidence of the initiative's success will not surface immediately, the school is beginning to see the lasting benefits of their new environment.

In the second year of their Classrooms for the Future (CFF) grant, teachers at Hatboro-Horsham High School are learning that technology is more than another student engagement device. New challenges require teachers to look at assessment and curriculum, all the while acclimating to the new pace of planning, teaching, and learning at the school. While evidence of the initiative’s success will not surface immediately, the school is beginning to see the lasting benefits of their new environment.

Natalie Fetterman provides science teachers with resources to enrich project-based learning.

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Students are self-directed as they organize presentations for their peers.

In her second year as a science technology coach at Hatboro, Natalie Fetterman reflects on the lessons she has learned. She comments, “I know we took on too much our first year and needed a revised plan for integration the following year.”

Last year, Natalie coached Chris, a biology teacher in a revision of the Academic Biology curriculum, which sometimes meant working until midnight revising lesson plans for the next morning. Now, instead of working with classroom teachers to revise their entire curriculum, the technology coaches and teachers work together to select key content concepts that can be enhanced through the use of technology. Teachers rewrite their lesson objectives to reflect the 21st century skills integrated into their instruction.

 

Natalie also shows teachers of Physical Science and Environment Science how to use the “smart classrooms”—complete with interactive whiteboards, laptops, and content area software—that come with the territory of the CFF grant.

Smart classrooms may look different, but inside, the conversations among teachers and students are largely the same as in a traditional class. Teachers emphasize participation, accountability, and oral communication skills. Students synthesize information and demonstrate their knowledge. As a result of the new technology, though, students are able to demonstrate knowledge in innovative ways. Instead of a standard end of unit test or research paper, they produce multimedia projects that integrate video, audio, and online research. In Natalie’s “Topics in Biology” class, students conduct an 80-minute presentation for their classmates that must include PowerPoint slides, an interactive quiz, handouts, and a blog. Students in the class feel that this experience provides them the skills needed to succeed in college level science courses.

 

Sarah’s presentation materials

Teacher Ben Bass uses technology to individualize instruction in Geometry.

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Math comes alive for Kaitlyn.

“Teacher Integrator” Ben Bass uses technology in his Algebra I and Geometry I classes. Software applications, including Cognitive Tutor, Geometer Sketchpad, and SynchonEyes, allow him to move between interactive, group lessons to individualized student work on problem areas. In addition, students are able to work at their own pace on areas where they need extra practice. Principal Williams believes that technology has changed the face of math instruction at the school, since it is more interactive than ever before.


 

Students demonstrate content knowledge through technology-based assignments.

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Teachers and students benefit from quick access to resources.

From the beginning of the grant, the school district administration in Hatboro felt it was important to include the four key content areas, and not just language arts and math. As a result, Liz Wiggins is able to teach American History with a focus on technology-enhanced, project-based lessons. Her course webpage allows students to access all course materials, assignments, and rubrics in an online environment. Students use video editing software, digital-audio software, and word processing to complete class assignments and are learning how to use these tools as they are learning content.

United States History Website Sample
Digital speakeasy assignment and rubric

In American Literature and Senior English, technology is just another medium for students to share knowledge and discuss content. Students use eBoard for class discussions, allowing even the shyest students to participate in a discussion without ever having to raise their hands. Teachers and students experience the benefits of this method, which fosters a supportive environment for students not willing to “take the verbal plunge” with a new idea.

American Literature materials


 

Hatboro’s Classrooms for the Future information

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