Southdown School teachers are among the leaders in using technology

Southdown School Keeps its Technological Edge

Southdown School teachers are among the leaders in using technology.

November 9, 2018

Southdown Primary School is keeping its technological edge as teachers expand their use of the latest tools and materials available to them in the classroom.

Southdown physical education teacher Lynn Hefele and second grade classroom teacher Valerie Murray both made recent presentations at a conference sponsored by the Long Island Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development and the Long Island Tech Summit.

The two faculty members routinely use technology in their lessons and they share their knowledge with their colleagues.

“I am presently working with my students to create exercise videos called ‘physical snacks’ using the Doink green screen and animation apps,” Mrs. Hefele said. “They are short videos that children can view at home, in class, or in PE as an instant activity. We have a YouTube channel called SouthdownPE and have over 120 followers and over 1400 minutes watched in just five weeks.” Visit to view the channel’s contents.

Southdown physical education students are using Flipgrid to connect with their #gridpals in Australia. “Flipgrid allows students to create videos and share them with others students in a safe setting,” Mrs. Hefele explained. “We have shared the tag games we created and now we are sharing our football kicking while they are sharing their rugby punting. Andy Hair is the teacher that coined the phrase ‘physical snacks’ so they are also making green screen videos.”

Mrs. Hefele made a presentation on a program she uses called Animaker. “It is an animation platform for creating quality animated videos,” she said. “I have used them to make lesson videos for substitutes and educational videos for students.” Visit the teacher’s YouTube channel to view the videos:

Ms. Murray was also on the scene at both of the recent conferences. Along with Mrs. Hefele, she made a presentation at the LIASCD gathering at the Melville Marriott titled “Video Creation Technology for Blended Learning across Content Areas.

“We presented to a variety of different administrators and teachers from across Long Island,” Ms. Murray said. “Our goal for the presentation was to share with administrators and teachers new innovative forms of technology and how they can incorporate it into their districts, buildings or classrooms. We presented these forms of technologies as tools to add to their ‘technology toolbox.’ We provided a step by step walk through of the different tools and examples from our own classes and students.”

Ms. Murray’s segment of the presentation focused on the different aspects of FlipGrid, Animaker and Prodigy. “Each of these tools allow students to create their own animations and incorporate the video components,” she said. “I love incorporating technology into every content area I teach and I feel that these tools really do empower students to take action in their learning. I feel that in teaching it is our job to promote student voice and that is exactly what these tools do. It was such a rewarding opportunity for me to share these wonderful technology tools with other educators and represent what I do here at Southdown.”

At the Long Island Tech Summit at the Huntington Hilton, Ms. Murray participated in a presentation alongside the Huntington UFSD’s technology team. The group included Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Beth McCoy, Director of Assessment, Instructional Technology and Elementary Mathematics Marybeth Robinette and six other teachers from the district.

“We presented in a breakout session titled ‘Huntington's Digital Transformation,’” Ms. Murray said. “We presented to a group of teachers and administrators across Long Island and shared how Huntington has embraced technology and how we are implementing it into all the different grade levels and content areas.”

Presentation topics included Nearpod, Flipgrid, Screencastify, Buncee, Google Docs as well as Greenscreen. “I spoke in detail about Flipgrid and how it can be used as an assessment tool for students and how it gives students the opportunity to learn from their peers,” Ms. Murray said. “It is one of my favorite tools in the classroom because it allows students to record themselves speaking in response to a question or assignment. Students really come out of their shells and are able to verbally express themselves to the fullest extent on this digital platform. It really gives students to ability to express themselves.”

Sharing everything she is doing to incorporate technology into the classroom was fun for Ms. Murray. “Overall it was such a great experience to be able to present with the Huntington UFSD team and I loved representing Huntington and Southdown, she said. “I think it is so important for educators everywhere to know how many awesome technology tools are out there that can really make the biggest impact on student learning and engagement. It is my goal to continue to share new innovative forms and to also be a lifelong learner and continue to strive to learn and embrace new forms of technology.”