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Spotlight On: Edward Lackaye

Ed Lackaye is starting his fifth year teaching English at Rhinebeck High School, and his eighth year of teaching overall. He graduated from Villanova University with an English degree and has been doing graduate work in Education at several institutions, including Marist.


Describe the AV grant you worked on and your expectations for it.
The AV grant was an attempt to both upgrade and expand. We had several cameras, but only one of them was of decent quality by today’s standards. As we looked to upgrade the cameras, there was also a need to expand our computer and server capabilities to handle the increasing file size as we begin to shoot in a higher definition. Ultimately, these improvements will help to build the AV Club and the Video Production class. In fact, it already has. Video Production enrollment is double what it was last year.

Your subject is English, which does not immediately leap to mind when we think of technology. Can you tell us of your interest in technology and how you use it in liberal arts education?
Technology provides teachers and learners with another outlet. Can I ask students to write a paper to explain a concept like the hero’s journey or the femme fatale? Certainly. However, technology allows for an expansion of those ideas. Technology provides teachers and students with tools to visualize concepts and create additional dimensions beyond what is written.

With the emphasis on technology education, we must not lose sight of how critical liberal arts are for mathematicians, scientists, doctors, engineers, and computer jocks. Is this a concern for you and, if so, how do you address it?
Fortunately, I think there will be continued efforts to incorporate reading and writing across the high school curriculum. Even if you find yourself in a field where you don’t think you’ll have to read another book or write another essay, at the essence of things we’re still dealing with language and communication. And language and communication aren’t going anywhere. They will continue to evolve, but they’re not going to disappear.

Is there a big technology change in education that gets you excited about the future (or that maybe keeps you up at night)?
It often feels as though tablet technology will be the next step. There is certainly a convenience there, not just in having your required class materials in a single place, but also a wealth of tools at your disposal. I think that the ease that comes from only having to tap on a word in a story to find its definition can help to encourage that behavior. I’m sure there are potential drawbacks, there always are. But I’m trying to look at the positives first. It would definitely make the backpacks more manageable.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished Toni Morrison’s Home this week. At 145 pages, it managed to be compact, brief and loaded all at once. Quick novellas like this are ideal for the school year where it can sometimes be hard to get to your own personal reading with any consistency. I also regularly read news magazines to keep myself informed of what’s going on in the world.

What do you do for fun when you aren’t teaching English and working to get technology into the schools?
A lot of my downtime involves music. I have a number of instruments which helps to fill my free time. If I’m at home, there is music playing. My apartment wall looks as though I’m singlehandedly trying to keep physical formats alive for the music industry. There’s also quite a bit of running involved. I wouldn’t necessarily call it fun, but it does keep me busy. If it’s any type of substantial break from school, there’s a good chance you’ll find me in New Orleans.

Do you have a big goal, project or wish list for this coming year?
The AV Club began Comedy is not a Crime last year, a webshow inspired by sketch comedy shows like Saturday Night Live. To write, act, film and edit as an ensemble was a new experience for all of us. I’m incredibly proud of everything we managed to create last year, but I think it’s just the beginning. This year should see more student involvement, more sketches, and more shows. Luckily, the world provides no shortage of material to parody and satirize.