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Meet our Featured Teacher: Penny Feeney
"Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination."
Daniel Bell

Penny Feeney
Library Media Specialist
Onondaga Hill Middle Schools
Westhill Central School District

Congratulations to our June 2016 Featured Teacher Penny Feeney. Penny is the School Media Specialist at Onondaga Hill Middle School, serving grades 5 - 8 in the Westhill Central School District. This is Penny's second year in the district after working as an Early Childhood Educator for 25 years.

What are some of the innovative ways that Penny integrates technology into her curriculum?

Penny has enjoyed introducing students and staff to Google Apps for Education (GAFE) this year. With the introduction of Chromebooks, the students and staff have discovered the many opportunities they have to collaborate on projects within the Google platform. At the beginning of the year, each sixth-grade library class created a collaborative Around the World Google Slide presentation. After each student chose a famous destination in the world, they used Google Maps to travel to their designated place. They took a screenshot to insert in their slide and researched at least three important facts to share about the place they had chosen. It was a great opportunity for them to not only learn about world geography, but also how to collaborate within Google Slides. Penny also found that the students have really enjoyed, and often preferred, having a lesson flipped into the Google Classroom. Flipping a lesson allows them to use their time in the library to do their work with Penny's support or refer back to the lesson if they have a question outside of class. Some of the other technologies she has incorporates into her classes are Kahoot, GeoGuessr, Screencastify, A Google a Day, Padlet and Quizlet.

During the 2015-2016 school year, OHMS teamed up with the Onondaga Free Library to create a Maker Club that meets on a weekly basis. Some of the materials the students have explored include Lego Robotics, Stop Motion Video, Sphero, Google Cardboard and Makey Makey. This collaboration not only allows the two libraries to share materials, but also encourages students to take part in the awesome programming offered at the Onondaga Free Library. Penny also began a weekly Coding Club which gave the students the opportunity to experiment with different coding programs. The students that participated in this club played a large role in supporting the Hour of Code event that was held to celebrate Computer Science Education Week. They assisted in teaching different classes and even taught OHMS Principal Mark Bednarski how to code.

How have students benefited from Penny's technology integration initiatives?

Students have become the primary stakeholders in Penny's library program as they have the opportunity to work on the library iStaff. Interested students fill out an application, seek out a teacher recommendation and sign a contract. The students on iStaff support technology, promote library news, and build customer service and leadership skills. They are an intrinsic part of the OHMS Library's daily operations. Penny constantly asks students for feedback about what they like and want in the media center. Their ideas help fuel the passion and life of the OHMS Library! Technology is an integral part of the school library program. By providing access to new and emerging technologies and resources in the library, students at Onondaga Hill Middle School have discovered that the library is a dynamic learning center that supports 21st century learners and inspires them to be the digital leaders of tomorrow.

Is This You?
Are you the type of teacher who thinks about technology integration and new ways to enhance instruction, engage students, and make learning fun?  Know someone who fits the profile?  Recommend a Featured Teacher so we can recognize and celebrate great work in the area of instructional technology!

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