Innovations for Learning Initiative
With technology playing such a core role in many of the current and future careers that students may pursue, a learning environment that involves an authentic use of this technology may help prepare students with the skills that can most benefit them upon graduation. With our Innovations for Learning Initiative we are creating a learning environment that provides each student with an individual platform to access the diverse range of information and communication technology tools now available to promote student inquiry and effectively develop skills that are applicable to real-world experiences.
All students in Middle School and High School receive a take-home Chromebook, while all 6th grade classrooms have a full class set of computers. We are continuing to expand our program to the Elementary grade levels.
Intended Learning Goals:
Greater Student Engagement
Technology can help draw students into a lesson by providing a variety of learning mediums and facilitating greater interactivity between teacher and students and enhanced collaboration amongst students. New media technologies can more effectively allow for all students to engage, participate, and contribute to the class.
By providing each student with a tool that gives them ubiquitous access to real-time and asynchronous discussions, live in-class student response systems, and multiple media tools for the production, sharing, and distillation of media, the vision is for a culture of participation within as well as outside the boundaries of the classroom.
One example is through the use of student response systems like Infuse Learning and Exit Ticket, which will encourage participation among all the students in the class and allow teachers to gauge during the lesson itself how well students are learning, far more than questions directed at individual students or a general, “Everybody got it?” Google Apps allows students to collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real-time, with multiple authors simultaneously crafting a digital artifact that represents their learning. It also enables more effective formative assessment from teachers and peers during the learning process itself, instead of just when an assignment is “turned in”.
Student-Centered & Inquiry Driven Learning
When all students have ready access to a consistent learning tool, teachers will be able to assign more open-ended projects and allow students creativity in using the computing and web resources at their disposal to come up with their individual ways of accomplishing the goals of the project. A multitude of web-based simulations and tools accessible via Chromebooks enables students to participate in activities and engage in an inquiry process similar to those of experts in their fields.
Learning that Involves 21st Century Skills
This does not mean just using technology per se, but skills essential to a modern work force like collaboration, the sifting and curation of vast amounts of information, and the persuasive presentation and exchange of ideas. In keeping with the National Education Technology Plan, our goal is “to leverage the learning sciences and modern technology to create engaging, relevant, and personalized learning experiences for all learners that mirror students’ daily lives and the reality of their futures.”
Technology can enable authentic activities that are grounded in real life contexts, thus preparing students with the actual skills needed for the future rather than just content knowledge. Technology can provide students with the means to effectively engage in collaborative activities and help develop the social skills that are part of expert problem solving.