The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 1, 2012

Edgewood's new forensic class gives students hands on learning while conducting scientific investigations

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — There are many changes at Edgewood this year, the most predominant being the Pilot Program. “The district wanted to do some action research into how the use of one-to-one technology in the classroom affects teaching and learning,” said assistant principal Nick Orlando. “There is also a research component of how the use of eBooks in place of traditional text books would impact the classroom and student achievement.”

Several different math, science and English classes are using the iPads while others have lap tops. The school has provided students with these devices that are always with the students, even outside of the classroom. A few other classrooms have access to iPads and lap tops in the classroom and are using them on an almost daily basis. Another option Edgewood is exploring is a “Bring Your Own Device” where students may use their personal cell phones, tablets, laptops, iPads, etc., within the classroom.

Senior Carrie Pozum said, “It (the Bring Your Own Device program) is a good experience. I felt like we got to explore more options and it served a purpose in the class.”

The program will continue into next semester and depending on data collected from the students and teachers, the program may continue/expand into next year. “

It is too early to tell at this point, but we are eager to review student achievement data and feedback as it comes in,” Orlando said.

Also new to Edgewood is the forensic science class, a half credit science course that covers the most fundamental aspects of the fancy forensics work done on TV. This includes fingerprinting, blood splatter analysis, crime scene /eyewitness basics etc. Students design and conduct scientific investigations, as well as use IPads as part of the pilot program at Edgewood to learn about forensics. The class is being taught this year by Beth Simpson. The forensic science class is very unique compared to traditional science classes. When the students come in to class, they log on to their schoology accounts via IPads and complete the daily CSI challenges that are uploaded to their accounts; these challenges involve critical thinking and problem solving from their class curriculum. Students are also using the FACES program, which is used in actual investigations to generate a representation of suspects from eyewitness accounts and is used to create the “WANTED” posters for the show, “America’s Most Wanted,” on Lifetime.

“I tried to be inventive myself when creating the curriculum, and I've put a lot of emphasis on hands on, inquiry based exploration, where students have the opportunity to kinesthetically become involved in their learning process,” said Simpson. “The students do receive some presented information, but the core of each lesson revolves around some activity that requires the students to problem solve and figure things out for themselves,” she added.

And that approach is working well for the students. One day, the students entered their class room to discover it had been completely trashed by an unidentified assailant, and the students spent the class interviewing, fingerprinting and gathering evidence from possible perpetrators. “From what I can tell, they are engaged and enjoying what they are learning,” Simpson said.

Multiple students praise the innovative hands-on style Simpson has embraced for this course. “Sometimes, they (students) ask questions that I don't know the answer to, and I use that as an opportunity for all of us to learn, by researching and figuring out the answer so we can all benefit from the knowledge gained,” Simpson said.

For all students and parents who are looking for information regarding college financial aid, Edgewood will be hosting their usual fall financial aid meeting 5 p.m. Nov. 15 in Edgewood’s inner cafeteria. The meeting will address scholarship opportunities, grants, loans and the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). This meeting will make students and their parents aware of the plethora of opportunities available for all who are college-bound. Students are encouraged to pursue scholarship opportunities. The meeting also gives parents the opportunity to look at the application process and introduce them to the different forms of financial aid offered to their children. Gary Himes, one of the counselors at Edgewood, recommends that all parents and students looking to apply for college attend this meeting and begin looking at opportunities sooner rather than later. “It’s never too early to look, even if you’re a freshman or sophomore,” said Himes.

While new traditions are coming into Edgewood, one is staying the same. “Pops, Pizzaz and All That Jazz” is scheduled for Nov. 12. The Edgewood Warrior Show Choir, Soundsations, as well as the Jazz Ensemble 1, will be performing, as well as other groups from around the area. Both groups have been working hard to prepare an entertaining show for the community. It begins at 6:30 p.m., though it is recommended to arrive early to ensure a seat. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.