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April 5, 2017 - 12:26pm

School board gets update on technology instruction

posted by Howard B. Owens in City Schools, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Students at Batavia's middle school and high school are getting exposed to a variety of technology and learning opportunities, Robert Mullen told City School District trustrees during a technology department review at the board's meeting Tuesday night.

While he spoke, Dylan Gaus (top photo), a student at Batavia HS, replaced a broken screen on a Google Chrome laptop computer.

Technology infrastructure goes beyond just computer and networking classes, Mullen explained. Middle school students get a bit of technology instruction with culinary courses or embroidery and STEM/STEAM instruction is woven into the district's curriculum.

There's also the traditional technology classes such as robotics, computer operations, and networking.

Mullen is a Cisco Network Certified Associate Instructor and an AP Plus Certified Instructor.

He described his computer classes as noisy and chaotic with no traditional desks but a series of workstations, with one central workstation where the class comes together "to solve big problems."

The course of instruction is rigorous and difficult, he said, and he's thinking of breaking the course into two components: hands-on repair work and the more academic side of computing (how things work and why) so students can take the path most suitable to them because there is so much to learn.

He said he encourages resilience.

"Most students have a strong fear of failure," Mullen said. "I try to get them more comfortable with the failure process because many times that’s the only time to begin again more intelligently."

One of the technology classes at BHS is computer repair, were students fix the Chromebooks other students have brought in for repair.

So far this year, there have been 59 repairs for equipment assigned to high school students, and since January, 19 for middle school students.  The average cost of each repair is $30.

“I think it’s still a significant savings for the district," Mullen said. "It’s just the parts. The school district doesn’t have to pay anybody to do the repairs and our kids have picked up some great skills in the process of doing it.”

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