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Bridging the Gap

Page history last edited by Heidi Trotta 13 years, 7 months ago



Using emerging technologies, it is possible to expand the local school community to become part of a larger collaborative educational system.  During the year 2006-2007, Seton Hall University and Bernards Township Public Schools worked together to infuse authentic problem based modules into the junior/senior curriculum in an effort to prepare students with skills necessary for college success, while bringing more rigor and relevance to the high school classroom.  



In 2005 Bernards Township began a pilot program using Lecture123 software in its elective science courses at the high school level.  Creating a rich virtual learning space, Lecture 123 combines powerpoint slides with voice and annotation.  Easy to use, Ridge High School was the first K-12 environment to fully implement this software. From inception, this technology offered a natural medium to collaborate with other K-12 districts and higher education settings in an asynchronous fashion. 


Starting in 2006 to the Spring of 2007, Ridge High School collaborted with Seton Hall’s Teaching, Learning and Technology Center to find creative ways to engage the high school student in the further development of higher level cognitive skills necessary for college success through the use of authentic problem-based learning.  Pilot modules were developed in the area of Environmental Studies with the focus on issues of concern and relevance in the state of New Jersey and to the high school/college student.


Students at Ridge completed Rip Currents, the pilot module in the spring of 2006 with students and instructors solicited for feedback.  Results on the instructional side were positive with students demonstrating success on the embedded and post assessments.  Some concerns were raised on the technology side that resulted from bandwidth issues in the district and from working on a wireless network.  Students also made very little use of the question and answer system in Lecture 123 and it was felt that this would need to be improved as well in subsequent implementations to provide more direct interaction with the university content experts.  Based upon feedback Seton Hall committed to continue to further develop one additional problem-based module titled Winter Storms which was implemented Spring of 2007. 


Looking for a third and final module in this series, the use of River City was recommended and implemented.  Eighty high school students completed this virtual world simulation in addition to the Winter Storm module. In the Spring, 2007 funding for this joint program ended however, however, due the the huge success of the program, Ridge High School requested that I continue in a consultant capasity.  Scheduled for 2007-2008 will be a unit on podcasting. 


This type of partnership encourages collaboration, knowledge sharing and the creation of effective learning environments, bridging the gap between the high school and university.  Projects such as this, demonstrate how experts in higher education can make an impact at the K-12 level in their areas of expertise while, most importantly, preparing high school students for college success.  For K-12 districts, these initiatives allow schools the ability to mix expert content and instructional design expertise with the local knowledge and experience of the teacher in the classroom through the use of technology. 



Bridging the Gap:  The High School – College Connection 

Heidi Trotta

NJEDGE Faculty Showcase

Newark, New Jersey

March 23, 2007

(Co-presented with Martha Schoene, Brian Heineman) 

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