ESU’s Americorps VISTA Program Teams with J.M. Hill Elementary School For Annual Spring Tech Jam
J.M. Hill Elementary School, working in conjunction with East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania’s Americorps VISTA program, recently hosted its annual Spring Tech Jam for students and their parents. The two-hour event was an opportunity for parents to get better acquainted with the technology that their kids have access to every day. Parents and students alike participated in a number of breakout sessions designed by J.M. Hill and ESU faculty members to illustrate innovative ways in which technology can and has been integrated into classrooms. Additionally, parents attended a special session in which they were given a presentation on Internet safety and the importance of being vigilant in monitoring their children’s Internet use.
The night began with a showcase of the J.M. Hill students’ technology-related projects coupled with concessions. Parents filed into the cafeteria to see what their children had accomplished using educational technology resources. In one noteworthy project, kindergartners made i-Movies to do science reports. With another project, students used a webcam for watching eagle chicks.
Following the showcase, parents and children were divided into various unique sessions focusing on Google resources, educational apps, instructional resources and e-books. J.M. Hill faculty members and ESU instructional technology graduate students conducted these sessions.
After the sessions, parents were invited to participate in an Internet and social media safety seminar presented by the Stroud Area Regional Police Department. The discussion outlined the dangers of unmonitored Internet use by youth and suggested ways in which parents could more effectively mitigate those dangers. Specifically, parents were encouraged to supervise children’s use of social media in order to catch cyber bullying and chat room predation prior to a major incident.
The night ended on an uplifting note thanks to local singer Regina Sayles, who received her master’s in instructional technology from ESU earlier this month, and did a “Jam Session” in the school’s gymnasium, in which the children got to use mic-filters and dance.
The Spring Tech Jam is part of the ongoing “E with J” Americorps VISTA program, which connects ESU and J.M. Hill in a collaborative effort to raise the academic achievement and engagement of the elementary school’s at-risk youth. Americorps VISTA is a community service program designed to bring low-income communities out of poverty by providing services and support. The Tech Jam offers an opportunity for ESU students to engage with elementary school students, helping them to become focused and immersed in their projects and increase attentiveness.
“All in all, the night was a great success thanks to parents, students and especially the ESU and J.M. Hill staff and faculty who made the event possible,” said ESU Associate Professor of Digital Media Technologies Beth Sockman, Ph.D.