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      Science teacher uses technology to reach students and parents

      Highland Park Middle School Science Teacher Michael Hayes is creating videos for his classes as well as using other social media tools to teach. Pronews 7 is featuring this innovative way of thinking, in this week's Region 16 Spotlight on Education.

      How many times have we heard students, or even ourselves say, "When will I ever use this in real life?" Mr. Hayes is showing his students just how Science can be used in the real world by using YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter has an extension of his classroom. But it's his YouTube channel that's getting all the buzz.

      "Kids I think, just think Science is always looking through a microscope a lab setting and its not. It's your dentist, its orthopedic surgeons, its people doing blood testing, its people that are doing meteorology and telling you the weather on the news. Science is so much bigger than what students imagine," said 8th grade Science Teacher, Michael Hayes.

      Mr. Hayes runs through lesson plans, reviews tests, shows experiments, and he even takes students under the sea during a recent summer trip. His innovative way of teaching is called, "Get Connect with Mr. Hayes", updating the classroom to better suite the 21st Century student.

      "As for adults, we're not looking to books anymore to find the things we're looking for and either are students and we shouldn't expect them to do things in the old way that people just aren't doing these days," said Mr. Hayes. "Academically it's been phenomenal. I started a 9:00 p.m. challenge on Facebook that goes every night and nine o'clock even on the weekends and holidays and they compete for silly prizes".

      For students, they're excited to see their teachers catching up to their tech savvy ways.

      "It makes me feel more connected to the world so I can know more about what's out there," said 8th grader, Aaron Raef.

      Mr. Hayes says it's also helpful for students who need that extra study time or for those who are absent. They can just connect to the internet and get started.

      "Kids that have special needs or kids that are struggling they can continuously review the content from my classroom by going online and watching it at their own pace, they can rewind it, pause it. It's just a great alternative to just being in the classroom and hearing it once," said Mr. Hayes.

      He adds that he also encourages parents to get involved to see what their students are up to while at school.