by David Baden –Solvay Middle School
In September of 2004 the Solvay Union Free School district opened the doors of their brand new intermediate school housing grades 4 thru 8. Included in this new building is a state-of-the-art Technology Education facility consisting of a material processing area flanked by two Modular Technology rooms. The ScanTek Modular program was provided by RJT Educational Training Systems in Happauge, New York. This program allows students to explore 20 different technologies simultaneously while their progress is tracked in real time by the ClassAct Management System. These technologies are: Aerodynamics, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Construction, Electricity, Alternative Energy, Digital Sound, Digital Photography, Computer Aided Publishing, Multimedia Production, Electronic Communication, Space Technology, Navigation & GPS, Computer Applications, Pneumatics, Mechanisms, Robotics & Automation, Industrial Control, Research & Design, Graphics & Animation and CNC Technology. Built in to all the modules is peripheral hardware and/or software offering students a real world, hands-on application of the various technologies. The management system, in addition to tracking student progress, is capable of providing a variety of reports through the few simple clicks of a mouse. Examples of these reports are: Attendance, Objectives, Competencies, Competency Gains, Assignment and Correlation to Standards.
The true power of this program, in addition to it’s curriculum, is it’s nature to develop self
directed learners. Here is a quote from a district content specialist who has observed the program several times at length:
“What you are creating in your classroom are self-directed learners who are self-
managing, self-monitoring, and self-modifying. They have been fully instructed in how
to navigate the learning centers in the room. They come in, go to the station, sit down,
and begin to really work. (self-managing) They take themselves through their
programs, take the assessments, see what they "Know, What to Know, Learned"
(KWL). (self-monitoring) They correct their mistakes, review material that they may
have missed (self-modify), and when they have "passed" that component, they move on
to the next one (self-managing). Your role as a facilitator frees them from dependency
on the sage on a stage. They turn to you respectfully when they have a problem or
need your guidance. Otherwise, they are little problem solvers who rely on
Built in to the curriculum is the flexibility for modifications. Steps are currently in place to review the New York State assessments in Math and Science, identify specific cross curricular content and modify the Modular curriculum accordingly. It is through these efforts that will provide the Solvay Technology Education Department a genuine ability to “form fit” a computerized delivery of curriculum to it’s students and directly support Math, Science and Technology standards with measurable outcomes.