Technology and Innovation
Christine Witcher
By Christine Witcher
Middle School Science Dept. Chair
Technology & Innovation Specialist
January 17, 2019
Forest Ridge has been at the forefront of innovative instructional technology integration since we started a 1-to-1 laptop program over 20 years ago - one of the first schools in the nation to do so. These days, technology looks much more diverse than just the laptops and projects in the classrooms. Here are just a few examples of how Forest Ridge teachers are using technology to differentiate learning and inspire creative expression:  
  1. The Shop – this is a makerspace that provides access to the tools, technology, support, and community necessary for students to bring inventive ideas to life. The 6th graders spent time in The Shop in December creating Jesse Tree Ornaments, which included an image, picture, or symbol and a Bible verse and citation. Students started with a brainstorm and quick prototype, used feedback to iterate, and then selected which tools and materials to use to create their design. Products ranged from wood engraved with the Laser Engraver to felt sewn by hand. Click here to learn more about The Shop. 
  2. The 9th grade designed Words that Inspire in Illustrator and the High School Art Teacher cut them out on our Silhouette Vinyl Cutter in The Shop. These beautiful works of art truly do inspire! Learn more about the vinyl cutter here. The 10th grade Theology class used podcasting to share their interpretations of scripture. The 11th grade also did some podcasting in social studies. Learn more about podcasting here.
  3. The 11th grade European Literature class used the green screen in the Center Studio to reinterpret scenes from the Odyssey. Teachers brought their students into the Digital Media Lab to create digital films that explore the Harlem Renaissance. Learn more about using the green screen here
  4. Last, but not least, several Forest Ridge teachers visited the Seattle Oculus headquarters in December to try out a social VR experience and discuss the opportunities, as well as the challenges, of using VR in the classroom. Though the technology behind social VR is still unstable, 360 film is a reliable and valuable tool for learning. Forest Ridge has six Oculus Go headsets that can be used to watch 360 films and participate in virtual fields trips. These were most recently used during the Forest Ridge annual Global Days to experience life within a Syrian refugee camp from the perspective of a 12-year old girl by watching the virtual reality UN-commissioned film, Clouds Over Sidra. Forest Ridge also have a Samsung 360 camera for creating our own 360 films. Learn more about bringing Virtual Reality into your classroom.
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