Distance Learning comes to Wise Middle School
Press Release, Medina Central School
MEDINA – The Medina Central School District has installed a Polycom Video Conferencing System in the middle school library. This allows for the school to conduct distance learning “field trips” over the Internet using a high definition camera and microphone set.
Band students took advantage of this opportunity and participated in sessions with the Cleveland Institute of Music. The Cleveland Institute of Music set up a fictitious television talk show called “Classical Instrument Montage” where Wise Middle School students were the studio audience.
“It was an impressive program,” said 4th and 5th grade band teacher Jeanette Sheliga. “The students were highly engaged asking and answering questions along with making music with the host. The program included a live performance as well as integrated pictures and videos teaching them about the history of the instruments of the orchestra.”
Brian Richards, Medina’s manager of Network and Information Systems, explains that, “The district’s Office 365 subscription gives each staff member a Skype account. We have recently purchased a portable classroom sized Video Conference Camera for use with Skype conference calls, allowing virtual field trips in any classroom in the district. The use of these systems provides us with educationally enriched virtual field trips, without ever having to leave the classroom.”
Wise’s 5th grade class also took advantage of the new distance learning capabilities. The 5th graders completed their ELA module about the biodiversity of the rainforest.
Part of this module included reading the book called ‘The Most Beautiful Roof in the World,’ written by Kathryn Lasky. Lasky’s book focused around the scientific work of Dr. Meg Lowman while she researched various rainforest canopies. On March 15th, 2016, the 5th grade students had the opportunity to Skype directly with Dr. Lowman.
Throughout the module, students created questions for Dr. Lowman coming up with over 100 of them and narrowing them down to about 25. Students were able to pick Dr. Lowman’s brain about the rainforests that she has been to, her books, her life, and many other interesting things.
Fifth grade teacher, Jason Klein, said “Students really enjoyed the whole process and are looking forward to other distance learning opportunities in the future.”