Technology Integration and Cybersecurity Awareness

Nick Marchese
As first semester comes to a close, Director of Academic Technology Nick Marchese shares updates on integration in the classroom and email phishing training at Emma.
Technology Integration
We believe when integrating technology into the classroom, we need to help teachers do so thoughtfully and with a clear purpose. This view is articulated in our Emma Willard School Technology Statement: “In the classroom, we believe the purpose of educational technology is to enhance and support teaching and learning while respecting our foundational educational pedagogies. We also recognize the power of educational technology in extending learning and its ability to provide experiences that might not otherwise have been possible.” The Academic Technology department partners with teachers throughout the year to support students in creating incredible projects that reflect the learning that is occurring throughout the semester. The following is just a sampling of some of the many amazing technology integrations that occurred first semester:

French I & French III - eBooks & vlogs
My French I and III classes completed final projects with the goal of applying structures and vocabulary learned in class this semester through a highly scaffolded and creative assignment. Clear parameters were set, and it was also essential that creativity and the personal touch of the creator be evident. French I created an e-book about themselves. French III wrote scripts and shot videos like real vloggers, walking us through several "a day in the life of" scenarios. Their effort and results are awe inspiring! 
- Sabra Sanwal, French Instructor

Student Examples

Geometry - Prototyping and Designing
Geometry students were called upon to design a distinctive bottle for a new line of cooking oil made out of pumpkin seed oil. They calculated the volumes of their bottles to make sure that it holds the proper amount, used iPads and Notability app to sketch their designs, created professional-grade spreadsheets using Google Sheets for their calculations, used 3D printers in the Makerspace to create a mock-up, and pitched their design to the class. 
- Laszlo Bardos & Raimie Utterback, Math Instructors

Nature Writing and Environmental Justice - Podcasts
Students were asked to choose an environmental justice case study, research it, and with a partner create: 1) a 6- to 8-minute podcast that could be submitted to NPR’s Student Podcast Challenge; 2) an 8-minute to 10-minute presentation about the research project and what it teaches about environmental justice; and 3) a 1- to 2-page reflection about the process of researching and creating the podcast and presentation. The students created their podcasts using the web-based software Soundtrap and then gave slideshow presentations using Google slides.
- Katie Holt, History Instructor

Cybersecurity Awareness Program & Phishing Simulations - Update
As we shared in previous For EMphasis newsletters and our last technology email about Cybersecurity Awareness, raising cybersecurity awareness is important to the safety of our organization. To help combat the ongoing problem of phishing, our organization has enrolled all of our employees and students in comprehensive security awareness training. Phishing is a type of cybercrime where hackers try to gain access to sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords, by pretending to be a person or organization they trust. 

Over the first semester, the student population (along with the adult population) underwent a Baseline Phishing Simulation where they were sent a simulated phishing email asking them to “Check Their Password,” with a link sending them to a simulated phishy looking website. Every two weeks after that, students were sent another randomly selected simulation phishing email to help train and practice identifying and reporting suspicious or phishing emails. 

Throughout the first semester since the baseline test, students have improved their identifying and reporting abilities, both for simulated and non-simulated phishing emails. By reporting non-simulated phishing emails, we were able to investigate and mitigate any risk of data being shared or identities being compromised. While improvement is evident, we still have large groups of students (~20%) who are clicking on simulated phishing emails and a smaller group (~5%) who are downloading and opening simulated phishing attachments, as recently as the past month. Our report rate has also started to plateau with only about 20% of students correctly reporting simulated phishing emails. You can view more specific data here.

We will continue to undergo phishing simulation email campaigns throughout the rest of the year as these types of emails are an ongoing and constant threat to everyone. Students will also be sent an additional training exercise in the coming weeks to help improve these numbers as well. Our end goal is to increase security awareness and decrease the number of clicks on malicious emails.

If you have questions about anything technology-related, especially as it pertains to the above items, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Director of Academic Technology Nick Marchese at

What's Next?

Our Mission

Honoring its founder’s vision, Emma Willard School proudly fosters in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.
285 Pawling Avenue, Troy, NY 12180 | P: 518.833.1300 F: 518.833.1815
Welcome to Emma Willard School, a private day and boarding high school for girls in Troy, NY, and a leader in girls' education for over 200 years. 

PLEASE NOTE: All visitors to campus must check in with Campus Safety, which can be found at the red flag entrance to Sage Hall (Pawling Ave. entrance).