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Friday, November 21, 2014
Schools
What's new in Lynbrook schools?
District introduces summer STEM program, new internship course
By Brendan Murray
Courtesy Lynbrook schools
Lynbrook middle school students learned the elements of game design at the STEM Academy this summer

Lynbrook School District students will see a few new programs this year — as well as one new course that started this summer, and was so popular that it had to expand its enrollment.

The STEM program — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — introduced students entering sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grades to robotics and video game design. The 34 students in the program attended two sessions a day, one in each discipline.

In the robotics class, students learned the basics of robotics software and programmed robots to complete challenges, having more freedom to program their own machines as time went on. In the video game course, they learned the elements of game design before creating their own games. They were then given feedback on their games by other students, which helped them modify and improve them.

School Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak said that the “hands-on” course was designed to familiarize younger students with robotics and game design in preparation for high school courses. It also gave them a chance to explore a possible career field.

Career possibilities will also be explored in a new intern program kicking off this fall, in which high school students will be tasked with finding companies with which they would like to do internships and working with an internship liaison from the school. Students must work at least 50 hours to earn credit, and must maintain a log of those hours.

Burak said that the program was instituted in response to the interest students and parents have expressed in internships. It is, she said, “designed to develop self-direction, self-reliance and confidence, and to promote personal and intellectual grown and improve decision making.”

In the new semester, sixth-graders will get their hands on new technology in their classrooms: They will be given their own tablets.

According to the district’s Instructional Technology Coordinator Neil MacDermott, the handheld devices are Microsoft Word capable, allowing students to create their own documents and presentations — and even to work interactively by sharing their resources with their classmates and teachers.

The teachers have already developed cirriculum for the tablets, and worked in teams throughout the process. The students can use the tablets in and out of school.

According to Burak, the tablet program, funded through this year’s budget, is intended to foster independent and project-based learning in students to “develop thinkers, problem solvers and strategists.”

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