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Amy Keesey
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Jason Clark
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Featured Teacher:  Lisa Sammon

Lisa Sammon
Social Studies Teacher
Onondaga Hill Middle School
Westhill Central School District

Lisa Sammon has been a social studies teacher in the Westhill CSD at Onondaga Hill Middle School for 25 years. Mrs. Sammon's talents have greatly benefited Westhill as she has spent her entire teaching career in the district. She has taught at all middle school grades and is currently teaching social studies at grade 8.

What are some of the innovative ways you are integrating technology into your curriculum?

Mrs. Sammon was an early adopter of Blackboard and uses its interactive capabilities to enhance her instruction. Of particular note, is her extensive use of Blackboard and the Buck Institute's Project Based Learning. She and her fellow social studies teachers use Prezi, wikis, blogs, Glogster and other tech resources to structure student collaboration and learning. In November,  the teachers have used  PBL to focus learning on the democratic process using the 2012 election as  context.  To view Mrs. Sammon's public Bb site, please click here.

Mrs. Sammon is a current participant of Project History, a Teaching American History grant sponsored by the North Syracuse Central School District in collaboration with Dr. Jim Carroll of Project Legal.  Mrs. Sammon was also a participant of the American Dream Project and a teacher mentor to First Person America, both Teaching American History grants sponsored by OCM BOCES in collaboration with SUNY Cortland and other local organizations.  Mrs. Sammon’s involvement in these programs has increased her skills in historiography as well as the use of technology to investigate history.  Through these grants, Mrs. Sammon has had her students investigate historical questions using WebQuests and problem solving applications.  Her students have created documentaries and podcasts using iMovie and Garage Band as well as other presentations using a variety of Web 2.0 tools.  Mrs. Sammon uses Project Based Learning as a structure to help her students explore historical questions while using her Blackboard web site as a tool to orchestrate the process of research and using technology in her classroom.  

How have students benefitted from your technology integration initiatives?
Students are VERY engaged in their learning. Project Based Learning and Blackboard require students to develop 21st Century skills. Students use the 4 Cs (communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity) to construct their own knowledge, skills and learning goals through guided self-direction.

Additionally, Mrs. Sammon shares her enthusiasm for Bb and PBL with other teachers via structured workshops. This professional development for other teachers benefits students beyond Mrs Sammon's immediate classroom. High school teachers who use PBL can always tell when they have Mrs. Sammon's former students in their classes because those students skill level with the 4Cs is evident.

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