P.S. 108 announces the installation of new SMART Board technology

The latest high-tech gadgets at a local elementary school will go a long way in terms of helping its students prepare for their future.

P.S. 108 announced the installation of about $74,000 in SMART Board technology that will allow students to learn in ways many are accustomed to in a time of digital media. A local councilman helped secure the funding for the equipment.

The latest technology enhancement will also serve to support the curriculum at P.S. 108 in a more cost-effective way, as much of the lesson plans are now available in digital form, said the school’s principal Charles Sperrazza.

“Many of the books that children and schools are interested in are now in eBook format,” said Sperrazza, adding that from a financial standpoint, it is much more cost effective for the school to purchase a license for an eBook for use on electronic devices than to purchase printed copies, which of course, the school still does.

Councilman James Vacca, who is chairman of the city council’s Technology Committee, was able to secure the allocation in the city budget that benefited P.S. 108 and allowed the school to purchase the new electronic gear.

“All of the schools in my district now have SMART Boards because of my funding over the past five years,” said Vacca, who also said that he works to meet the needs of about seven or eight schools in his district every year.

The funding for the P.S. 108 high-tech learning came as part of a request that the councilman received from the administration in answer to an annual letter he sends to principals concerning unmet instructional needs.

“Many of the technology needs of the schools have to be met through my allocations,” said the councilman. “Many of our schools don’t receive certain things, so I want to supplement (what they already receive).”

During a visit to the school on Friday, April 1, Vacca got a first-hand look at the technology he funded in action.

In first grade teacher Jessica Miano’s classroom, the students were learning how to tell time using a SMART Board.

The students said a collective “thank you” to the councilman when he first entered the room, and the technology committee chairman proceeded to ask how many of the students had smart phones, with several students answering in the affirmative.

“I think people who are my age learn about technology from people who are your age,” Vacca told the group of youngsters, several of whom were clutching tablet computers used in instruction.

“I remember years ago when my daughter was teaching me how to use the computer,” he said to the children. “So we learn from you; as much as we try to help you, you help us.”

In addition to benefits from a business standpoint of the technology being more cost effective, according to the principal there is also another practical advantage to using SMART Boards and viewing eBooks on tablets computers.

“(We are) able to house thousands upon thousands of titles of volumes of digital books,” said Sperrazza, adding that there is no need to move books or equipment around the school because all of the information is stored in ‘cloud computing’, meaning that they are always available without the need for storage at the school.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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