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Wednesday, September 17, 2014
South Side Middle School opens new high-tech lab
Susan Grieco/Herald
Music teacher Anna Elias-Bonet demonstrated how the new equipment and programs in the lab make teaching music more innovative and exciting.

The Rockville Centre School District unveiled its new high-tech Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math lab, known as STEAM, at the South Side Middle School on Dec. 14. The lab, funded by a $30,000 grant from the Rockville Centre Education Foundation, is dedicated to blending arts and technology.

The ribbon cutting was followed by presentations from four teachers detailing how they use the new technologies in classes ranging from music and photography to technology. Brian Zuar, director of the arts, discussing the importance of such a lab in education, quoted the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple. “These teachers and I live every day in that ‘magical place,’ the intersection where science meets humanities,” Zuar said. “Where engineering meets artistic design. Where technology meets music. We live there every day.”

Anna Elias-Bonet, a music teacher at the middle school, explained to members of the administration and the foundation how her classes use the new computers and keyboards to compose music with a program called Finale, and played examples of their work through headphones at each computer station.

Elias-Bonet also sampled the work of students who used the lab’s new electric guitars along with a program called GarageBand. “I can listen to what they’re doing individually from [the front of the class] and I can give them suggestions,” she said. “I have folders for each class and complete electronic portfolios for each student from the beginning of the year all the way to the end of the year.”

Daniel LaManna, a technology teacher at the high school, explained how he used new programs in the lab to update the way students build wood race cars for an engineering class. Using a program called Dragster, the students can access quizzes and worksheets relating to the physics of the cars, and can design them to meet required specifications.

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