Tech learning takes front row seat at local middle schools

CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – From “flipping the classroom” to online homework, local teachers are making efforts to reach kids on their level. And that level is being found through technology.

WNCN’s Alyssa Corfont went into the classrooms to find out more.

Eighth grade Language Arts teacher Laura Dowd has a challenge for her students at Mills Park Middle School. She calls it “Genius Hour.”

The assignment takes longer than 60 minutes; in fact, it lasts all year long. Students have to conduct in-depth research on a topic of their choice.

The culmination of the project is a video essay.

RELATED: Click here for a video from “Genius Hour.”

But the presentation takes classroom technology to a new level.

Dowd told WNCN,”We had a genius hour night where all the parents came. They had their yearbook pictures around the wall and they could hold their phone up to the picture and a video would show up and that was their reflection video.”

That same app is used in the yearbook to play videos of moments from throughout the year.

At Mills Park Middle School, many teachers like to record videos of their lectures that the students can watch and re-watch at any time. They call it “flipping the classroom.”

Danielle McCaslin teaches science to sixth graders. She says the videos are also shown at school.

“In order to make sure we’re reaching all the kids who may not have technology at home, we like to show them in the classroom.  It cuts down on your lecture time. We have found that a 30 minute lecture has been cut down to 7 or 8 minutes,” said McCaslin.

The students aren’t the only ones pushing the technology trend. Eighth grade Science teacher Tiffany Schaefer says, “I would really, really, really love to start doing an online and completely electronic science notebook.  Interactive science notebooks are something that have gained a lot of popularity and they are super useful.”

In Christine Walton’s 7th grade Language Arts class, students are using the internet for everyday work.

“The kids love to use technology because that’s the way that their lives are.  They go home and use the computer. They’re always on their ipad or iphone or they’re contacting their friends that way. So a lot of teachers have put their homework calendars up on the internet,” Walton said.

See the work for yourself!

Here are some other educational videos from Mills Park Middle School.

Language Arts:

Rhyme video

Flashback/ Foreshadowing

Allusion/ Symbolism




Layers of the Earth



Photosynthesis and Respiration

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