Last week, five Rocky Hill School students and two faculty members attended the Across Boundaries edtech conference in Boston. The conference, jointly sponsored by LearnLaunch and MIT, included 1,100 participants from 13 countries and 30 states, and hundreds of exhibitors and presenters. Our student attendees watched students from 25 New England schools present remarkable programs, activities, and accomplishments in the field of edtech. I invited our five students to share their reflections of the conference and serve as my first guest bloggers. I think I made a wise choice!
Elsa Block ‘20
I recently had the opportunity to attend a LearnLaunch innovation event in Boston to represent Rocky Hill School. I feel incredibly lucky to be one of five who were a part of this experience. Once in Boston, we headed to the Hynes Auditorium and walked down a hall full of tables and booths presenting new technology and ideas to better learning experiences in the 21st century. The room full of students was probably my favorite part of the trip, because I was able to learn about the advances not only entrepreneurs are making in the educational field, but what students have created themselves. From self-guided high school and college courses to controlled aquaponic plant growing systems, the room was filled with so many young innovators. I felt lucky to have been able to ask questions and receive valuable information about so many new, useful, and interesting ideas for students, teachers, and educators. Walking around we were showed virtual reality headsets for classrooms, math music videos, organizational websites, and presentation software that all could be used to positively change the way so many students with so many learning differences could be taught. I very much enjoyed this workshop and it helped spark many new ideas about future projects and technology for our school, as well as exciting me for what will be our very own LearnLaunch facility.
Charlotte Boss ‘22
Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend one of the most educational events I have taken part in. Some of my peers and I traveled to a LearnLaunch/MIT conference in Boston where we were inspired from ideas and innovations that create a better learning environment for children and adults. During the conference, we talked about how we could bring an idea such as the prosthetic hands, which was part of something the RHS Interact Club started. One of the most interesting projects I saw was about making videos that encourage children to learn math while making it fun. This really connected to what some of my classmates and I are currently doing in math class which is making videos similar to their idea. Another area included clear whiteboard paper in which you put on desks and tables for kids to write on. These were just two of the many ideas I feel as though sparked my imagination to improve the already amazing learning environment we have at Rocky Hill School. I am so glad I got to attend this amazing opportunity and be able to share the wonderful experience I had. I would like to thank Dr. Tracy, our Head of School, for making the trip to the conference possible and sparking my imagination to make a difference.
Ben Liebermensch ‘22
On Friday, February 3, I had the opportunity to attend the LearnLaunch conference with four fellow Rocky Hill School students as well as Mr. Jedrey, Head of Middle School, and Mr. Laurent, 3rd and 4th grade teacher.
At LearnLaunch, 24 teams representing grades six through college presented different innovations from a variety of fields. Most of the innovations were in teaching and engineering. My favorite booth was from MIT, where they built a tread wall, called “Gravity.” The goal was to climb for as long as you could. The wall mixes gaming with rock climbing while incorporating learning, coordination and competition, all in an active environment. They plan to market the wall to arcades or gyms; I thought the idea was really cool. The LearnLaunch conference also inspired me to try and create my own innovation based on a concept that I had worked on with Rocky Hill School’s FIRST LEGO League team when I was in fifth grade.
I think the LearnLaunch conference was an excellent learning experience, and also provided inspiration with the variety of teaching methods that were presented.
Lily Kerachsky ‘22
On Friday, I got the amazing opportunity to attend the LearnLaunch/MIT conference in Boston. When we arrived we got to see 24 schools and their innovations and ideas to improve school life for the future. I immediately thought that we should be one of the schools represented there. But this wasn’t the only chance we could get. All of us who got the opportunity to go are already thinking of ideas for next year! Next, we saw adults with their business ideas that could impact the way we learn and live in many, many ways. We saw every idea from whiteboard stickers to electronic learning tables for pre-schoolers. We got to interact with all these business people, and truly get inspired. I found that it was a once in a life time experience to understand the process of entrepreneurship and how we as a school, can have our very own idea that we can take to this conference next year. Overall, I am extremely lucky to have been able to attend this conference, and this was only possible because of Dr. Tracy as our new amazing Head of School. I can’t wait to see where this goes over the next year, and how we as a school can make a difference.
Jacob Pogacar ‘19
Last Friday a group of fellow students and I, along with a couple of teachers, traveled to Boston in order to visit and sit in on the LearnLaunch conference. Upwards of two dozen student presenters gave speeches explaining their thoughts and ideas on how to improve the world of education. They spoke about many different topics such as producing informational math music videos and using virtual reality gear to simulate field trips. They all wanted the same thing: to change the education system for the better. Seeing all of the dedication and effort they put forward was very inspiring. Personally, I think it is our job as a private school to be a catalyst in the world of education and pioneer some of these ideas, for we are not chained to a set curriculum. Surely, next year Rocky Hill School will be able to secure a booth to present an idea of our own. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend the conference and look hopefully towards what is on our horizon.
Jim Tracy is Head of School at Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, RI.