Grants in Action: Spring 2017

Computing in the Arts!

By Steve Cogger, Physics Teacher, Reading Memorial High School

Computing in the arts is a new class for high school juniors and seniors that allows them to explore art and music through design and computational thinking. REF funding provided circuit boards and electronic parts for a musical instrument design project.

For the MIDI project, student created instruments include a guitar and xylophone:

This project also involved teacher collaboration; the blue plastic pieces holding the speakers and the main extension board were printed on the 3-D printers that REF funded for Kent Hatton and Chuck Strout.

Proud students display their optical harp, drum kit, and guitar:

Band Room Dynamic Soundfield!

Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 2.45.02 PMCoolidge middle school music students can now better hear their teacher.

Using a wireless microphone transmitter and loudspeaker has transformed the band room and allows Cheryl Webster to teach without vocal strain and voice loss.

“Since obtaining the Dynamic Soundfield I can speak to the entire band classroom using a normal speaking voice and every student in the room can hear me clearly – no matter where in the room they sit,” says Cheryl Webster, Band/Music Teacher at Coolidge Middle School.  “I can’t imagine teaching large ensembles without it!”

Digitized Reading with iPads and Subtext!

The upstairs sixth grade team at Parker Middle School has been using REF funded iPads to support student learning.  Students are able to create and play Kahoot and Quizlet as test review tools, revise and edit essays in Google Docs, view functions in Plus Portals, create Google slide presentations, access the Math in Focus textbook, and research topics for various writing and content area projects.


“The use of the iPads as a technological tool has become a supportive and essential component of the learning experiences for the students on the team as the teachers continue to plan new ways of implementation in the classroom,” remarks Donna Martinson, 6th grade English Language Arts Teacher at Parker Middle School. “Thank you REF for your support!”

Green Screen Video Studio is expanding its reach!

Students at Coolidge Middle School have been creating videos using iPads, microphones and an animation and drawing application, along with Green Screen Technology (see Grants in Action, Fall 2016 to learn more). Using the app DoInk ( the students shoot scenes in front of a green screen and then add various video or image backgrounds to them.coolidge-slide-1

The application of this technology is expanding, as Christine Steinhauser, Library media specialist at Coolidge, led workshops in April for other Reading teachers, allowing them to learn how to use the the app and incorporate making videos into their teaching and projects.