High Point school showcases technology

| 17 Jan 2017 | 09:54

Imagine a future in which high school students design video games utilizing virtual reality” programming; build architecturally accurate dream home models; develop and 3D print circuit boards; design and laser cut functioning guitars; live stream school events; and video conference with a Senator many states away. That future is now, and that high school is High Point Regional High School.
On Friday, Jan. 13, the High Point Regional High School Instructional Technology Department hosted the Sussex County Educational IT Leaders Meeting involving Sussex County Board of Education members, Sussex County district administration, High Point administration and faculty, LinkedIn Sussex County IT, Sussex County Schools IT professionals, local businesses and Tammie Horsfield, President of the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce and guest presenter Joshua Koen, Chief Innovation Officer, NJ Department of Education.
“Technology is a process.”, says High Point RHS IT Supervisor Mark Wallace, “Most people think it is a thing, like a scanner. Instructional Technology are the tools and software used to manage, teach and learn. It is essential that students have exposure to the latest technological tools to be properly prepared for their future. Education must keep up, to properly serve their students! The same old exposures and tools cannot be used for an entire career in education. Education must network with business and industry. Technology Education courses are a great way to satisfy STEM initiatives as well as provide experiences that are valuable for a student in higher ed and or work.”
Koen, who has visited 30 New Jersey schools over the past three months, stated, “I am interested in seeing excellence...(and) very impressed by what’s happening here. The student-driven (course) is fantastic.
Wallace kicked off the meeting with a welcome note and introductions, then led the tour to the first stop, instructor Kevin Fenlon’s live streaming demonstration in the Media Studio. Fenlon showed visitors how High Point uses live streaming, including an 8-angle camera, to bring morning announcements to the student body; stream and archive sporting events for coaches; bring the graduation ceremony to family and friends around the world; and much more.
The next stop was Instructor Dan Yardley’s Data Center, where he spoke about the heavy duty technology firewall and upcoming expansion plans.
The tour moved on to the Technological Studies Room for CNC and 3D printing, where Instructor Alex Gonzalez showed off the ShopBot digital fabrication machine, spoke to projects completed by his students including school countertops and toys for the Toys for Tots program, and described this year’s big project: designing and building picnic tables.
Instructor Matt Garrera then demonstrated the Carvey 3D carving machine used by his students to create circuit boards and much more. \
Lastly, Instructor Paul Cardinal showcased the Maker-Bot 3D printer and a functioning hydrogen-fueled model car built by his students.
At the tour’s next stop, the Laser Engraver room, Instructor Steve Peltier demonstrated how an art student creating a large lithograph employed the laser engraver to create stencils using recycled cardboard, and showed the group a range of student-designed-and-built architectural models.
On to the Video Game Design and Virtual Reality Technological Studies room, where Instructor Ben Kappler presented the video game programmed and scripted by his class, and spoke to how cutting-edge virtual reality headsets will soon be embedded in the classroom to design video games.
The tour finished back in the Media Center, where Instructor Mimi Fenlon involved the group in a demonstration of video conferencing technology with Google Hangout, used by classes to interact live with other students and teachers around the nation, and soon to host a live discussion with Maryland State Senator Craig Zucker for government class.
Koen closed the meeting with a presentation explaining his vision for the New Jersey Department of Education Office of School Innovation, promising to “double down on helping educators develop and effectively leverage available technologies to move ahead,” and introduced Future Ready, a soon-to-launch educational technology school certification program.