The popular pitch phrase of the past, "I want my MTV," is sure to be replaced with "I want my ITV (Interactie Television)" at Butler High School (BHS).
When BHS opened its doors this September, it became one of the few high
schools in New Jersey to offer courses via ITV. Fiber optics makes it
possible for BHS to bring courses taught in other schools to the ITV
studio at the high school.
The cutting-edge technology offers tremendous educational possibilities
for a school district. It enables students to take courses otherwise
not offered because of low enrollment projections.
Cameras allow teachers in another district to see and communicate with
students at BHS, and for students to communicate with the teachers. A
monitor is assigned to the classroom as an extra duty period like
cafeteria or study. Work sheets, tests, and homework, are faxed back
BHS Principal Manuel Ferreira said, "Students love it. I see enrollment
going up next year. At first, students were apprehensive. They didn't
know how to react to such a remote situation. Now, they love it."
"Currently, about a dozen students are involved in teh local ITV
program. BHS is receiving an advanced placement European History course
from Parsippany Hills High School and a Probability and Statistics
course from Morris County Community College. The local district is
providing Central Valley Middle School in Long Valley with an Algebra
II class, which is taught by Scott Copperman. To make it a more
personal experience, ITV teachers have visited BHS.
The district is taking full advantage of the information superhighway
and is connected to the internet and NJ Link. It will also play host to
diferent conferences, putting BHS in the educational spotlight.
Ferreira said the district decided to start off small, but will expand
programming and offer more courses next year via ITV. Ideally it will
become an educational tool for the entire community. One of hte
district's goals is to offer local adults courses from Morris County
Community college. The second semester of 1995 has been targeted as the
starting date for college broadcasts, he said.
Tracy Christiano, a senior enrolled in the ITV Probability and
Statistics course, said "It's really interesting and so technologically
advanced. It has been a great experience adn gives us a look at what we
have to look forward too in the future. I feel lucky. I'm getting a
taste of what college is like. The course is taught by a professor and
it's not like anything else I have taken," she said.
At first the experience seemed odd because the teacher was not in the
classroom. It didn't take long for students to adjust to that, she said.
"It's going excellently. It's so beneficial. I'm getting to take a
course I wouldn't have had the opportunity to take at BHS - a course I
needed for colleg," said Tracy.
Scott Copperman, who teaches the ITV algebra course, agrees with
Tracy's assessment. He said the camera aspect of ITV has kept him very
aware of any visual presentations he makes.
"Copperman said, "It's going very well. It's a different environment.
It takes more of an effort to keep focus. It has make me more aware of
my teaching quirks and make me more flexible - more able to adapt to
different situations. The first couple of days, I think we were blown
away by the whole thing, but now I don't ever realize that I'm
switching camera angles. It just runs smoothly."
Butler High School math teacher Scott Copperman is pictured below
teaching Algebra II, not only to Butler students, but also to a student
at the Central Valley Middle School in Long Valey. Interactive
Television may seem a bit Orwellian, but this cutting-edge technology
allows students to take courses in other school districts.