Saratoga High School
Saratoga High School Connects Teachers and Students, Enables Digital Classroom
Saratoga High School
"We can use our teaching portfolios to give instructions and create podcasts and blogs to promote interactive communication with our students and among students from other classes." - Mariam Fan, Language Dept.
Saratoga High School in Saratoga, California has a tradition of academic excellence. In the 2009—2010 school year, over 98% of the graduating class enrolled in college, 23% of the senior class were finalists or commended in the National Merit Scholarship Program, and eighteen Advanced Placement courses were offered. Saratoga High School has also produced four Rhodes Scholars in the last ten years.
The World Language Department offers Chinese, French, Japanese, and Spanish. Students not only learn to speak the language in the classroom but have the opportunity to participate in trips abroad to experience the language and culture firsthand with their classmates and teachers.
Perhaps the most interactive department in terms of student/teacher engagement is the World Language Department. Classes often consist of a constant back-and-forth discussion between teachers and students: repeating words and phrases, talking in small groups to master conversational vocabulary, and using other dynamic techniques to teach and learn the language. As digital media proliferate, teachers must store and share large files quickly and easily.
“We needed an on-site storage solution for classes to post photos and videos as well as portfolios,” said Mariam Fan, a Chinese teacher at Saratoga High. Especially in language classes, where real-world experience matters just as much as classroom work, students produce video and audio recordings as well as photographs for assignments and projects. There is also a question of distribution: ideally, students and teachers should be able to use the internet to post, share, and view files of all types. All of this, of course, must be constrained by the limits of the school’s budget.
“From an information technology standpoint, set-up was very simple and straight-forward,” says technology coordinator Grenier.
With easy integration to their existing network structure and very little training time required to use the DS209 via DiskStation Manager 2.2, both teachers and students can quickly reap the benefits of secure and powerful storage features.
“Teachers can create their teaching portfolios and store the audio, photos, and video files in Synology DiskStation so students can access the files. We can use our teaching portfolios to give instructions and create podcasts and blogs to promote interactive communication with our students and among students from other classes. We can assess students’ progress using student electronic portfolios during the school year and at the end of each semester,” says Fan.
Fan has even found other features of DiskStation Manager 2.2 to be useful specifically for language classes. “Synology PhotoStation 4 is a convenient solution to upload, manage, and share the photos and videos of our students’ projects.
AudioStation provides teachers an innovative way to store their audio files and create their podcasts so students can listen to audio files,” she said. In such a dynamic learning environment, where teachers take advantage of the latest technologies to maximize both comprehension and relevancy, students receive more thorough and engaging instruction which employs digital tools that enhance and streamline their schoolwork. Handing in assignments by simply copying to a shared folder, storing large video and audio files, and collaborating in a central file share allow students to produce rich media content and ensure it is securely backed up yet easily accessible.