I-Camp Promotes Technology Exploration
Posted on 11/06/2019
Students in the STARRS program are excited about a new hands-on initiative that introduces them to new technology to help them build classroom skills. 

Special Education Coordinator Amanda Hopkins launched the program last year, utilizing resources and expertise from the Mohawk Regional Information Center’s Model Schools team. During these monthly half-hour sessions, students learn about a specific piece of technology and then try it out with teachers’ assistance.

icampHopkins said the I-Camp sessions are a way to help students develop academic, social, motor and problem-solving skills, and it introduces them to tools and concepts they may encounter later on in their schooling. 

“My favorite part is that they’re faced with different challenges, they have to work through it, solve problems through it, go back to the drawing board, and work with their friends to solve these problems to make something work,” she said. 

Model Schools Coordinator Derek Lalonde has been leading the monthly sessions. Before meeting with students, he works with STARRS staff and administrators to ensure the lessons enhance classroom work and appropriately build on students’ skills. During the October session, he brought in Sphero SPRK+ and helped students navigate the balls around a table maze to help reinforce motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination, and problem solving skills. 

“We try to make the learning relevant,” he said.

Other iCamp sessions have featured virtual reality, augmented reality, coding and robotics.

Teachers have begun integrating the I-Camp technology into classroom lessons to help students engage more with the curriculum. Last year, STARRS teacher Laura Kent began integrating Osmo into her math lessons as one way to help students learn shapes, patterns, and problem solving skills.

“It’s a great way to engage the kids,” she said. “They’ve grown up with technology so it’s just another way to be able to incorporate that into the classroom and use it as a learning tool.”