Education Week - November 9, 2016 - 18
Photos by Mark Abramson for Education Week
Albert Cavalluzzo, right, has
been teaching at Mineola High
School for the last 20 years and
recently began using technology
to teach classic literature. He
said he was surprised to find
how much students like being
able to use the technology to
make comments and respond to
the comments their classmates
have made as they read.
ter teacher with the Folger Shakespeare Library in
Washington, and the author of Reading Shakespeare
With Young Adults.
" 'Macbeth' is a highly unstable, incredibly complex,
very dynamic text," Dakin said. What could be better
suited to the 21st century tools we have at our disposal?"
'Macbeth' Goes Digital
With its hospital-green tile floors and cinder block
walls, Cavalluzzo's classroom at Mineola High probably doesn't look all that different from the way it
looked back in 1962, when the school was built.
But the technology now available to the 31 students
in his 5th period English 10 Honors class was scarcely
imaginable 50 years ago.
As the students settle in, Cavalluzzo instructs them to
turn on their school-issued tablets, then open Edmodo,
a Facebook-style "social learning community" through
which teachers, students, and parents can share assignments, feedback, and other communications.
The class is a week into its new unit on "Macbeth."
The students have met the play's main character, a
Scottish nobleman and warrior who has received a
prophecy that he will ascend to the throne. Today's
lesson will dive into a famous soliloquy from Act 1, in
| Education Week * November 9, 2016
which Macbeth ponders killing Scotland's sitting king.
First, though, Cavalluzzo wants to give his students-14- and 15-year-olds whose families hail from
Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Montenegro, Pakistan,
Portugal, and other countries across the globe-a reason to care.
He uses Edmodo to pose a broad, open-ended task.
"This is the question I want you to think about: Does
guilt motivate you to be moral? Have a conversation
with your partner, just for a minute or two," Cavalluzzo told the students. "Then together you can post
your response on Edmodo."
As the students finish, their responses populate a
feed on Cavalluzzo's iPad, which he in turn projects
on to a smartboard at the front of the class. The idea
is that the technology will push even the shyest students to contribute, then allow everyone in the class to
quickly share in each other's thoughts.
"I can get instant feedback from 25 kids, rather than
just hearing what one or two kids think," he said.
"That fits my philosophy."
Next, Cavalluzzo wants his students to get more
comfortable with the playwright's gloriously complex early-modern English, full of unfamiliar pronouns, inverted sentence structures, and deliberate