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The Telegram
  • Frankfort-Schuyler teacher brings technology to classroom

  • Math classes aren’t what they used to be.

    And that seems to be a good thing for students in Audrey Cucci’s classes at Frankfort-Schuyler High School.

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  • Math classes aren’t what they used to be.
    And that seems to be a good thing for students in Audrey Cucci’s classes at Frankfort-Schuyler High School.
    Cucci, who was honored as one of the Top 50 Innovators in Education in the 2012 Yearbook: Technology Innovation in Education, a research report from the Center for Digital Education and Converge, is seeing more enthusiasm among her students and better grades.
    “I like to do something new every year,” she said and those new things involve technology.
    Most recently, she has introduced what she calls a “flipped classroom” for her pre-calculus classes. She pre-records her lecture and posts it to YouTube. Students’ homework is to view the lecture prior to class. Class time is spent on hands-on applications of that lesson.
    “The kids love it,” she said. “From last year to this year, overall grades are 15 points higher. I have kids say to me, ‘Mrs. Cucci, I love that I can pause you.’”
    This method gives students more responsibility for their education and is good preparation for college, she said, adding class time is spent on real-life applications such as calculating the growth of a Roth IRA or population growth.
    “Even car loans,” said Cucci. “If the interest is 6 1/2 percent, what are you really paying for that car?”
    Algebra 2-Trigonometry students are doing all their work on their TI-Nspire hand-helds — graphing calculators developed by Texas Instruments — with no paper involved.
    The handheld calculators are being used from eighth through twelfth grades, Cucci said. While the school will provide them, many of the students are choosing to purchase their own.
    She has obtained grants from sources including businesses and the Teachers’ Center to purchase the equipment needed to bring these changes to the classroom.
    The technology “pulls kids in,” according to Cucci. “The upper level classes are increasing in size.” Some students are even doubling up and taking more than one math class at a time.
    The enthusiasm Cucci is seeing in her students is a far cry from her own high school math experience.
    “We’d go to class and we’d take notes. Then we’d go home and do our homework and we’d come back the next day and take more notes,” she said, adding she knows all too well what it feels like for a student to face a math test with a queasy stomach. “I thought there’s got to be a better way.”
    It wasn’t until she attended college, going back at the age of 21, that she connected with a professor who helped her become confident in math.
    In addition to working to bringing more updated technology into the classroom at Frankfort-Schuyler High School, Cucci serves as a part-time instructor for Texas Instruments. She has trained teachers in Poland and Ilion schools on the use of the technology and is pleased to see more and more use of math technology in Herkimer County schools.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Not every kid is going to be an ‘A’ student,” she said. “You’re also going to have ‘C’ students, but as long as they’re getting something out of it and enjoying it, I’m happy.”
    Cucci is also looking ahead to what other technology she can bring to the classroom.
    “I want to bring in motion detectors and light sensors,” she said.
    To do that, she’ll be looking for additional grant funding.
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