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Educational Technology Coach Brings Butterfly Migration Project to Fire Island School

Educational Technology Coach Brings Butterfly Migration Project to Fire Island School

Ed Tech Coaches support teaching and learning

Our Model Schools Educational Technology Coaches (ETC) are NYS-certified teachers who are experts in the use of various technologies to support teaching and learning. ETC can provide in-district traditional and virtual workshops for faculty and staff. In addition, participating districts can attend Model Schools regional workshops free of charge. They specialize in providing customized professional development either in workshops or job-embedded format as well as instructional technology support to the administrative team.

Deborah Gerken has served as an Educational Technology Coach with the Fire Island UFSD for over 20 years. In that capacity, she has supported many on-going citizen science projects that gather essential data by tracking changes over time. One such project studies monarch butterfly migration as a means for gathering information on the population of these small creatures. A web-based resource known as “Journey North” served as the foundation for this initiative.

Over its 30-year history, thousands of students across the US have been monitoring migratory animals and adding their data to interactive maps on the Journey North site. As a registered user, Ms. Gerken collects data from students and they collectively post their findings. As monarchs migrate to the butterfly bio-sphere region in Mexico to over-winter, a collaborating project partner keeps students informed on monarch numbers based on acres of inhabited forest.

Each year Ms. Gerken endeavors to add a meaningful supporting activity to this unit of study. This year, each student created a short 60-second PSA to bring awareness to the severely declining monarch numbers, in danger of becoming extinct. One of the projects utilizes green screen technology while the others utilize voice over options. All of the projects were produced with iMovie.

Watch Debbie Gerken speak about the project on News 12 here.