Recently, students and schools within the Socorro Independent School District took part in Digital Learning Day with interactive, technology-based teaching and learning.
“We are celebrating students by showcasing their creative, innovative, inspiring projects that have been wonderful,” said Erica Aragon, instructional technology specialist. “There are an array of different activities. The whole point is to motivate and inspire our students to pursue their dreams and to get them ready for college and careers.”
With more than 300 students present, the district also highlighted projects that integrate technology in the classroom at the second annual Academic Technology Showcase “Building Wonder” at the District Service Center.
The event showed the ways students use digital lessons and technological resources to enhance their learning, including samples of 3D printer work, multimedia, animation, graphic design and video production. They also competed in an app challenge and a video contest as part of the showcase.
WIN Academy students also participated in a Sphero competition. The students were challenged to develop an amusement park for their Sphero robots using computer coding skills and their technology expertise. They demonstrated their creations and digital learning at the technology showcase.
“Technology helps students become more engaged in curriculum,” Aragon said. “It gets them motivated to actually learn more about any digital tool that they are using. Through technology, they also can learn about content, fine arts, physical education and so on.”
Samantha Villareal, a sixth grader at SPC Rafael Hernando III Middle School , showed off a math program that she created, which helps students learn and understand different math concepts, at the showcase. It was the second time she has participated.
“I am just excited to be here and to do it again,” said Villareal, who wants to go into forensics when she grows up. “I have a lot of fun with it. And it’s really encouraging knowing there is a good community around supporting girls to do STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).”
Digital Learning Day also was in full gear in classrooms across the district. Students in all grade levels participated in numerous lessons throughout the day. They participated in coding, desktop publishing, robotics and programs such as Office 365, Nearpod and Prodigy, said Miguel Moreno, the district’s coordinator of instructional technology.
“We really wanted to highlight how technology is the avenue to learning and students connecting with one another,” Moreno said. “We want to highlight the things we do in the district. Every student has access to technology. Not many districts can say that.”
Through its Operation Future Ready efforts, SISD constantly works to advance digital teaching and learning, to fully train educators to utilize new resources, and to offer more technological devices for student use.
Jose Salinas, a third-grade WIN Academy teacher at Desert Wind School, said he uses technology all the time in the classroom. Currently, students are learning how to code using Ozobots.
“It keeps me inspired to keep learning about technology,” Salinas said. “I can teach them, so when they grow up, they can pursue careers in STEM.”
At Mission Ridge Elementary, Grecia Decena, third grade, said she enjoys the iPads and computers used in her classroom. She loves Prodigy because students use characters to battle each other using math problems.
“I’m not very good with math, but this makes it easier for me to learn,” Salinas said. “I never had any classes with all this technology before. It’s actually very fun.”
Fourth-grade Mission Ridge teacher Christina Reveco said she is appreciative students have access to a lot of different devices. It gives them an opportunity to use technology on a daily basis.
“That will really help them in the future,” she said.