Learning with technology is a major focus at Venture Heights School. From Kindergarten to Grade 8, there are so many platforms and opportunities for students and teachers to grow and experiment! Venture Heights is constantly adding to our opportunities for kids. Our grade one and two students are beginning to work with their new OsMo machines and Venture Heights just acquired a new GlowForge!
As new technologies emerge and become available, Venture Heights is always ready to journey through the challenge, and welcome the opportunity to be on the edge of developments!
The Modern Classroom
In Mrs. Gabrysh's, Mrs. Tremain's, Mrs. Heit's, and Mrs. Antoniuk's homerooms, we have been working on a self-paced instructional model called The Modern Classroom, that develops students as capable learners. We believe in the importance of having students truly understand what they learn in school and want to be able to meet each student’s unique needs. Our goal is to help every student achieve mastery, with a blended, self-paced approach that uses technology to meet every student’s needs.
In our classes, we have been working on this approach, specifically in math. Students have access to an entire math unit so that they can work at their own pace. Each lesson is highly focused on a specific learning objective. Many lessons begin with a short 4 - 8 minute instructional video (created by one of the 7/8 teachers), that students watch and listen to while completing embedded questions and guided notes. The act of watching a video while listening to a voice, reading text on screen, and writing down notes, engages students with a variety of learning styles and builds several sets of skills simultaneously. The students then continue to work on various Must Do, Should Do, and Aspire To Do assignments, before completing an Exit/Mastery Ticket and assessing themselves as capable learners.
Students appreciate being able to work at their own pace, not having to speed up or slow down based on someone else's pace. Others have said that being able to re-watch, pause, or rewind a video is very helpful. Some students prefer to preview the lesson at home, so their time during class is spent asking specific questions about the lesson they are on. Parents assisting their child at home have found it beneficial to be able to view the instructional videos and see what language we use in class when explaining concepts. We hope in offering this approach that it can help bring teachers, students, and families together. We encourage students to be honest with us about what is and isn’t working for them. Together we can work on a plan that best meets their needs.
3D Print Lab and Digital Creation Lab
In the fall of 2018, Mr. Zintel applied for and received a grant from the Dakota Dunes Community Development Corporation to purchase five 3D printers (Creality CR-10s) for Venture Heights. After designing a room and installing the printers, Mr. Zintel began working with grade 7/8 students via the school’s Enrichment Program where students were able to choose classes of interest. Along with 3D printing, students explored coding, web design, and stop motion.
This year, students continue using Tinkercad to create 3D models. Tinkercad is a free app that runs on the Chrome browser. After the models are created, students “slice” the file with another program (Cura) so that the file can be read by the printer. The printer then uses a variety of PLA filament to bring the creation to life. Students are also invited to find a few files online, modify them and print them as well.
The 3D printer room has been a very cool addition to our collection of ever-growing technology used with our students at VHS.
In previous weeks, Mr. Zintel has been working with a group of students to design a “Digital Creation Lab”. In this room, grades K to 8 students are invited to create a variety of digital media. The room has been fitted with a greenscreen, drafting tables, desktop computers, iPads, Chromebooks, lighting, Logitech Crayons, tripods, microphones, and headsets.
In this new space, students will work collaboratively to create digital projects including videos, audio files and digital art. As many of our students have access to devices/computers at home, they will be able to use the skills learned in the DCL at home. All apps have been specifically chosen as they are free (or inexpensive) and user friendly. Apps like GarageBand, iMovie, CapCut, Stop Motion Studio and Procreate are inexpensive and can be used to create professional looking media.
We are excited to have students (and staff) of all ages create unique and interesting content in our new Digital Creation Lab.
Our computer lab is used as a supplement to the in-class technology offered at Venture Heights.
This is quite a reverse from the days when the traditional computer lab was the hub of technology and curriculum integration.
Classrooms use the lab for large-scale projects, research and 21st Century technology skills development.
As part of the Practical and Applied Arts program at Venture Heights School, Grade 7 and 8 students create beautiful projects while they develop safe woodworking skills in our school shop. Grade 7 students focus on hand tools to build a bird feeder and turn a wooden pen. Grade 8 students focus on power tools as they build a canoe paddle and explore the art form of intarsia. We have just added to our shop a Glowforge laser engraver, which allows students to explore automation and add intricate details to their projects!
Gallery of School Images