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About Project Connect
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As part of the district’s wide-ranging and multi-year Innovations in Education Plan, Project Connect put iPads into the hands of all sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students across all district elementary schools and at North Hills Middle School in the 2016-17 school year. The program expanded to include Grade 9 students in the 2017-18 school year and to include Grade 10 students in the 2018-19 school year. Project Connect embeds project-based learning throughout the curriculum and utilize technology as a tool for personalizing instruction for every student.

Through Project Connect, we are striving to present our students with a world of possibilities by cultivating an innovative and problem-solving learning environment that incorporates vital skills for college and career readiness such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

In the Classroom
Here are just a few examples of how our teachers are incorporating this learning tool into their classrooms to prepare students for successful futures. Students are using their iPads to:
  • Create stop-motion animation videos and an accompanying script to answer the question “Why did Jamestown struggle to survive?” or “What caused the hysteria in Salem in 1692?” Within the video, students provided evidence to support their story depending on their area of focus. Stop Motion is a technique of taking still images or drawings of objects and then moving them slightly to produce an illusion that these objects have come to life.  Students used materials such as Legos, characters and modeling clay among other items.
  • Complete assignments in the new, fully digital English language arts curriculum, Study Sync. During English language arts lessons, students are reading texts, annotating and answering questions related to texts they have read on their iPads.
  • Research a country from around the globe using multiple sources and videos to create an iBook detailing the nation’s geography, history, culture, economics and government using the Book Creator app. Some students added their own voices reading their project or their nation’s anthem. 
  • Distribute all content in Grade 8 English classrooms in line with the StudySync curriculum. The curriculum incorporates videos, peer reviews of work and blasts, which allow student to converse about a topic in a safe environment, ask questions or answer quick queries to determine comprehension of subject matter.
  • Capture photos of sheet music for band practices allowing each student to always have their music with them. They also can take personalized notes and write on their digital sheet music.
  • Create digital posters about the Bill of Rights explaining what the Bill of Rights means in simplified, relatable language.
  • Design presentations using the Project and Creative apps and make Prezi slideshows after completing research on famous immigrant inventors in social studies.
  • Keep track of important vocabulary taught in each subject and review vocabulary for tests and assignments using the Flashcard app.
  • Practice skills taught in math class by completing math problems and showing their work on iPads instead of white, dry-erase boards.
  • Access online web portals for Think Through Math and Study Island, online tools that support North Hills’ English language arts and math curricula.
  • Research music and songs suited to their individual abilities in middle school band courses, and record themselves playing instrumental scales and music using GarageBand to submit to their conductor.  
  • Celebrate Constitution Day with a novel BreakoutEDU activity that combined popular escape rooms, iPads, American presidents and primary source historical documents. Students worked together with a time limit to decipher clues from various primary source documents. Once they worked out solutions and unlocked each of the five locks on a locked box, the students found the answer they needed to save the nation from ruin – The Constitution. 
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North Hills School District
135 Sixth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15229
Phone: 412-318-1000 Fax: 412-318-1084
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