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As New Hartford continues to advance its STEAM initiatives district wide, some students at New Hartford Senior High have had a busy start to the school year in a new computer programming course called AP Computer Science A. With a slew of students taking the class, it is proving to be one of the fastest growing Advanced Placement offerings by the Math Department for the 2016-17 school year. In the course, students are not only learning the specific fundamentals of coding in Java, but developing a general and hopefully deeper understanding of the collaborative world of coding. To prepare for the new course, math teacher, Mr. Matthew Romanow (pictured below instructing his students in the class), devoted an entire week of his summer to attend an AP Summer Institute where he was able to familiarize himself with the curriculum as well as network with other first-time teachers of the course. As an alumni himself of New Hartford school, Romanow wished that he had the chance to explore the coding world during his high school career and was lucky enough to take several computer science courses in college that he could rely on to support and now offer this new course this year. In addition to Computer Science A, he’s glad that students interested in this exciting field now have several opportunities to make their own discoveries in Computer Science here are New Hartford High School such as AP Computer Science Principles (taught by Mr. Amante) and a host of other Project Lead the Way technology courses that now require all kinds of coding skills of students. So far, students enrolled in “AP Comp Sci A” as Romanow calls it a challenge! From the onset, students in the class gain first-hand experience with writing their own basic code, editing pre-existing code to behave in different ways, and understanding interactions with computer end-users. Through the use of a classroom set of laptops, students can access both Eclipse (an Integrated Development Environment that allows students to create/edit and compile their code) as well as access Google Classroom which has helped to create a truly collaborative working environment. “Even though they are on the cusp of their training and instruction, students are learning quite a bit just through trial-and-error, which will then lead to discussions about what makes code effective and successful,” says Mr. Romanow. He also points out that by leverage Google Classroom it has allowed both he and the students to continue discussions outside of the classroom, and has created a space where students feel comfortable both asking for and receiving help from peers. Throughout the year, students will be exposed to many types of lab activities to help solidify the material that they have learned. Sure to be a class favorite, students will create their “bot” capable of responding to specific inputs of various users as well as request additional information from users. AP Comp Sci A is also helping demystify the often shocking aspects and pace of technological change. Senior Seth Garrett states, “The class has been fun so far, and it is nice to finally learn the mysteries of technology.” Senior Zach Smith adds, “I’m excited to see what code looks like and it’s been fun working on and struggling with the labs we’ve had since it’s all so new.” Josh Clarkson, a junior, would be upset if he couldn’t add, “It’s radical!” Both Mr. Romanow and students are looking forward to the next year together, and invite anyone to stop in and see what’s being created in AP Computer Science in room 162! Perhaps it can inspire you and your own students to taking on a coding initiative in their own classroom. If you are interested in exploring some options for that, just reach out to the Tech Department and they will show you some coding tools that will work well for your grade level or subject area no matter what you teach!


Most subjects, whether it is a High School course or even something being taught to kindergartners, lend themselves to focusing on some aspect of art and history as part of the curriculum. In these cases, there is an amazing but relatively unknown evolving app provided by Google that is perhaps a perfect tool to call on..

Called Google Arts & Culture, the web and mobile app (shown below running on a smartphone) is truly the realization of one of Google’s greatest aspirations: to deliver the best that mankind has ever produced onto one’s screen in a matter of seconds. To accomplish this goal, Google has spent the last several years in collaboration with the world’s greatest museums to showcase their priceless assets in high definition splendor and packaging them as incredibly well produced pieces that is perfect for teaching and learning in the humanities either with a computer or especially on the go by leveraging the capabilities of our mobile device.

To get started with the app, you can access Google Arts & Cultural on any Internet connected device by going to Likewise, you can download the native app of the same name for both iOS and Android smartphone and tablets in their appropriate stores. Navigating the app works the same on the web as well as on the mobile varieties. Just click on the familiar navigation Google menu (three lines icon) along the top of the banner (seen along the top left in the screenshot below).

Once the menu is accessed, you can sign in to track and save your explorations in the app. Likewise, the content can easily be filtered and accessed by types, content provider, etc. (as seen in the screenshot below)

Once you get up and running with the app, it quickly becomes clear very quickly that it can create a unique learning opportunity for students of all ages. For example, Arts and Culture not only reproduces works of art such as Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” so that students may examine the masterpiece brushstroke by brushstroke, but accompanies such a manipulable asset with encyclopedia style articles by the world’s foremost art historians. The app can provide truly learning immersive and engaging too. For example, rather than offering only static images and text, it instead offers tools to search art works by any keyword, browse by color, as well as see how an artists’ works evolve over time. Other features supports 360-degree virtual tours, which you can view in a Google Cardboard viewer, and a slick image recognition feature that will identify virtually any known art painting using your mobile device’s camera.

Since the app works across computers and mobile devices, it can serve as promising to be a one-stop art appreciation and research tool in many learning environments and scenarios. For as much as the app offers, it does retain a label of being in “beta” form. However, as with many products that come out of Google, Arts and Culture continues to grow in its usefulness and features for educators and students alike. Now that you know about, perhaps you will want to take a closer look at it once you are trying to weave art and history in your next classroom lesson and are looking for an interesting, useful way to do it.

Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers
iTunes Content for Your Classroom

Are you looking for a creative way to access your students’ understanding in real time? If so, Formative is a fanatic app to look at.
Formative is a free, web-based student-response and assessment tool that works well for the flipped, BYOD, or 1-to-1 classroom. To get started, teachers start by creating an account then uploading or creating questions that act as assignments. Students then complete assignments by typing, enter numbers, drawing, upload images, or answering multiple-choice questions. Teachers can create mutiple classes (manually or by filling out a template spreadsheet) and then distribute their assignments to students through classes (including Google Classroom) or via an access code. For a tool that offers a wealth of feature for realtime assessment and feedback in any classroom, Formative is worth a look today!
Visit Formative
10 in 10
El Paso ISD

Hosted by El Paso ISD Director of Instructional Services, Tim Holt, this collection of short videos, which each take 10 minutes or less to view, demonstrate a variety of educational tools and resources that can be used in the K-12 classroom. Aimed to be quick and informative for teachers of all grade levels and subject areas, even more resources can be found on the host's website which is linked off the iTunes page for this media collection. For some quick easy ed tech ideas to try out in your classroom, take a few minutes to check out 10 in 10 today and you will be sure to find something useful you can use!
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The New Hartford Tech Spotlight is a monthly informational e-mail newsletter published for all faculty and staff of the New Hartford Central School District by Mike Amante & James Davis. If you wish to contribute to or inquire about the newsletter, please visit here.
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