St. James, NY…
Harbor Country Day School (www.hcdsny.org, St. James, NY), one of Long Island’s premier independent schools for preschool through eighth grade, has put Skype technology to great use – enhancing the learning experience for students in its Spanish language classes. Under the direction of Harbor Spanish Teacher Elizabeth Williams, Harbors’ sixth and seventh grade students are interfacing directly with sixth grade students at Colegio Público Juan Aguado located in Toledo, Spain who are learning English.
According to Ms. Williams, “It was my idea to find a school in Spain so I began researching over the Internet. I learned about the use of Skype in the Classroom and became very interested in the possible connection of Harbor with a school in Spain or Latin America. I was very lucky to find Colegio Público Juan Aguado. This is our third year working with this school.” Ms. Williams noted that the experience goes beyond helping the students in their learning and application of language skills.
“It also helps them learn about the differences and similarities of both cultures,” she added. “This is perhaps the most rewarding and enriching part of the program. Students are interested to learn about geography, holidays, food, history and more. Both schools are also practicing new and innovative ways to communicate with the iPad. They are creating shared guided documents to work on together in class. In spite of the difference of language and the miles away, the use of technology is bringing both schools closer together, once a week.”
In implementing Harbor’s Skype in the Classroom program, Ms. Williams works directly with the English teacher in the Toledo, Spain school. They plan language lessons in advance. Jose Luis Castaño is the tech staff member at Colegio Público Juan Aguado with whom she communicates weekly for evaluations and feedback.
What has been the students’ response to their Skype in the Classroom Spanish class? “They are fully engaged, thrilled and excited to ‘meet’ with Toledo every week,” said Ms. Williams. “They are also surprised to know about the time difference and interest that students there also manifest for this program.” Each session is followed by a class discussion which provides evaluation tools for the teachers to read and reflect upon.
Owing to the success of this program, Harbor is planning new ways for its students to communicate, learn and practice communications skills of writing and listening.
Founded in 1958 by conscientious parents, Harbor Country Day School provides a dynamic, academically-enriching Independent Day School experience for Nursery through Grade 8 students. Harbor’s beautiful, 11-acre campus is located in St. James, on Long Island in the Village of Head of the Harbor.
With its legacy of education rich in tradition and innovation, Harbor nurtures happy, confident students encouraged to strive for excellence, embrace their natural curiosity and interact respectfully with others. “Harbor cherishes childhood, cultivates wonder and inspires confident learners and leaders,” is the Mission that guides Harbor Country Day School.
Harbor is like a second family for its students where children thrive under the caring, nurturing and personalized attention of dedicated and skilled administrators and faculty in small classes. The emphasis is on educating the whole student in an environment where every facet of a child’s learning experience is enriched with proven, yet innovative and differentiated instruction. Harbor combines traditional teaching methods with leading-edge technologies to inspire and cultivate each child’s personal best. This standard is reflected across the school’s curriculum and offerings including its exciting summer camp program.
Harbor’s goal is to give students an experience, not just in academics, but in life. In fact, Harbor graduates do go on to succeed in their secondary and college education, careers and life. Many of Harbor’s alumni have gained prominence in fields of business, public office, education, science and The Arts.
Harbor Country Day School is chartered by the New York State Board of Regents and is accredited by and a member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). It is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS Code governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees. For more information, visit www.hcdsny.org.