Educational CyberPlayGround ®

Dr. Betty A. Rosa has launched HomeBase8T

Community School District 8, Bronx, NY believes that parental involvement is one of the keys that will open doors of opportunity for our students and their families. To this end Superintendent, Dr. Betty A. Rosa has launched HomeBase8™. The cornerstones of HB8 are:

1. placing a new Apple iMac computer into the home of every District 8 student (includes an Internet provider and E-mail account)

2. free, comprehensive training for parents (prior to receiving the computer)

3. the creation of our HB8 web site
which includes up-to- date, school-based information, resources of interest to parents, and engaging web-based activities which utilize Bernie Dodge's WebQuest model

Below is an article I wrote for EdTech News (Oct/Nov '99) describing HB8's mission and goals.

By Joe Josephs,
Technology Learning Specialist

October 12, 1999

Life in the 21st century will require a new set of skills for us in our work life and in our personal lives. It is predicted that financial success, already data-dependent and data-driven, will become even more so in the next millennium. Therefore the ability to access, analyze, and apply information will be a must-have skill. All one has to do is read the classified advertisements to appreciate the necessity of technology skills appearing on an applicants resume. Numerous employers welcome such a resume with open arms and generous salary. But for the" have not" applicants the pickings are decidedly fewer and less green.

Sadly, too many of today's students fall into the "have not" category,
relegating them to second rate jobs and lives.

To meet this challenge, Dr. Betty A. Rosa, Superintendent of Community School District 8 in the Bronx, has launched Project HomeBase8™. This initiative places a new Apple iMac computer into the home of every District 8 student. An Internet provider and E-mail account are also included. Additionally, parents receive free and comprehensive training that includes educational uses of the Internet, word processing skills, and E-mail protocol.

There has always been a need for information to flow freely between schools and parents. Too often parents are denied critical information regarding their children's education because of faulty, antiquated methods of communication.

The HomeBase8™ web site enables and encourages parents to become actively involved in their children's education via up-to-date district and school calendars, contact information, and E-mail communication. Our goal is allow seamless digital communication for the entire District 8 family.

Another function of HomeBase8™ is to provide our teachers and students with quality web-based activities. For teachers, students, and parents, The District 8 Curriculum Development Team produced lessons, activities and Links that address State and City Standards, the various curriculum areas, and technology skills. Our development team has adopted a model and methodology developed by Bernie Dodge called WebQuest.

A WebQuset is an inquiry-oriented lesson format, which supports higher level thinking skills by giving learners an interesting and doable task and providing web resources to accomplish it. Each WebQuest8
http/ activity is interdisciplinary and we encourage our teachers to customize them to suit their instructional goals. Other features of the HomeBase8™ web site include an interactive map of the Bronx, educational and reference links targeting students, parents, and teachers, a tech support page, and a section for District 8 educators to post pictures and text taken and written while traveling. Technology, when intelligently harnessed and creatively applied, can be a valuable instructional tool, leading to literacy and comprehension

HomeBase8™ strives to take advantage of technological advancements for the educational benefit of our children. As Superintendent Rosa has said, "Education should not end with the school bell. District 8's goal is to make learning available twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. Our mission is to transport(all)™ leaving none behind."

To sum up, the major goals and objectives of HomeBase8™ are:

  • Place an Apple iMac computer (complete with an Internet provider and E-mail account) into the homes of every District 8 student
  • Provide free training computer training for parents ­ focusing on
    computer basics, word processing, educational use of the Internet, and E-mail techniques and protocols
  • Create engaging Web-based activities which will be accessible, via
    our web site, at school or from the home
  • Create seamless E-mail communication for the entire District 8 family

Be Well & Eyes on the Prize,

Joe Josephs
Technology Learning Specialist
Bronx, NY