HERMITAGE – Christine Morimando is teaching computer classes in the Hickory High School library for the second semester of the school year, but this agreement is temporary.
They – and other technology teachers – will be moving to a new technology room by next fall.
Hickory High School administrators intended to use the current engineering room as a traditional classroom after a renovation nearly 20 years ago, but said Frank Gingras, the school’s technology director. But they didn’t expect the demand for a computer room, which forced Morimando’s classes into the library.
Morimando is teaching eighth grade computers, advanced programming, web and app development, and interactive media this school year.
When the new technical room is ready, it will not only benefit Morimando’s classes. She is already talking to teachers from other departments about how the technical room could be shared. Morimando said this could include students working on English or history assignments and then working with students from Morimando’s classes to create posters, websites or videos according to the project.
“I don’t want to hinder the students’ creativity,” said Morimando. “I want to be able to assign something to my students and give them an example, and have the students come back and ask me, ‘What if we did it this way?'”
To better cater to technology-centric classes, contractors have improved wiring and introduced transformable furniture to encourage work on a variety of projects, said Joe Kulbacki, director of educational technology.
The crews have also created more space by tearing down a wall to combine the technical room with an adjacent classroom that has not been used in recent years, said deputy director Diane Brest.
Instead of conventional computers, the technical room will have laptops with which the students can move around in the technical room. Every laptop will also have touch screens and pens, Gingras said.
Despite the new technology, Morimando requires her eighth grade students to prepare assignments using pencil and paper or other physical materials before starting digital assignments.
Morimando’s students are already using a flexible educational style during the renovation of the new technical room. Although the students used the computer lab last semester, they can collaborate in different locations in the library, she said.
“The students have been very good at getting together and working on their assignments so far,” said Morimando.
The expected project cost is expected to be approximately $ 100,000. Funding has been earmarked for the project, but school officials are seeking additional grants to offset some of the cost.
The tech room is also funded by the Hudson Companies, who made a $ 25,000 donation to the project, said Diane Brest, director at Hickory High School.
“We spoke to John Hudson and Eric Hunter from the Hudson Companies, showed them the room and they liked what we were trying to do,” said Brest.
The renovations should be completed on time for the 2021-22 school year, Brest said.
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