North Hills Middle School has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for 2017-19 for its successful creation of an innovative environment that utilizes iPads. With the launch of Project Connect, North Hills School District’s 1:1 initiative, educators are able to personalize instruction for every Grade 7 and 8 student in the district and use technology to incorporate vital skills for college and career readiness.
Apple Distinguished Schools are centers of innovation, leadership, and educational excellence that use Apple products to inspire creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. They showcase innovative uses of technology in learning, teaching, and the school environment and have documented results of academic accomplishment.
“At North Hills Middle School, we strive to provide students with meaningful learning that connects them with each other, their communities, content experts and global audiences as a whole, said David Lieberman, North Hills Middle School principal. “We believe our globally-focused curriculum,
made possible by our integrated use of technology, allows our students to learn communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity skills that will be vital for their future success.”
During the first year of Project Connect in 2016-17, students:
- Authored a four-volume multi-touch interactive iBooks series as part of a collaborative English and social studies project. Student interviewed family and friends to compile oral histories of local, national and world events. They researched these stories that spanned multiple generations and wrote explanatory essays that included first-hand insights from their interviews.
- Grew seedlings and flowers and donated their yield to North Hills Community Outreach food banks and a local nursing home after designing aquaponics and hydroponics systems.
- Created historical landscapes, artifacts and recreations based on their personal interpretations of historical events as part of the first history-focused 3D design and printing program in Pennsylvania.
- Learned the steps of computer coding and used those skills to build programming concepts for a wheeled robot named “Ollie” and aerial drones that navigated a serious of obstacles.
- Collaborated with experts in both physics and meteorology while conducting experimentation and used FaceTime to speak with noted authors via a live webcast.
Project Connect is now in its second year at North Hills. The program provides iPads to all students in Grades 6, 7, 8 and 9.