A Good Year for Technology in the Classroom
Three ACE Schools made Innovate Public School’s top 10 list for preparing students for success: Summit Preparatory Charter High, Downtown College Preparatory – San Jose and Leadership Public Schools – San Jose. Although the list was for Latino students, the success rate for African American, Asian, White, Pacific Islander and Filipino was impressive too.
ACE Spectrum featured Summit’s success story. The high school busted the walls of the classroom to focus on personalized learning, and technology was a key part of that.
University Prep Academy, San Jose, reported great success with Project Lead the Way, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program. Students focused on solving current problems by creating special projects that applied what they learned in class. Technology was key to learning and developing their skills.
Bullis Charter School in Los Altos increased student’s engagement in learning with intercessions that were deep dives into specific projects, including teams creating computer apps that help younger students learn. Take a look at the video about how students master knowledge at Bullis Middle School and you see that technology in all over the classroom. Students and teachers use smart boards and iPads to create, learn and communicate.
Alpha Public Schools opened Blanca Alvarado Middle School this year, one of the first blended learning schools in the Bay Area. Blended learning is all about technology – a lot of it. Not just the equipment or the software, but the bandwidth. The Internet pipe needed to deliver 100 Mbps to the school so the videos used by students in every classroom didn’t slow down and stop. At a new school, there was no time for stopping. Founder, CEO and principal John Glover looked back at the first year of operation and developed a Top 10 List. Four out of 10 on his list were about technology.
ACE’s Continuing Education Partners, Oakland International High School (OIHS) and San Francisco International High School (SFIHS), created Continuing Education Centers for both students and adults. OIHS focused on ESL classes, a 5th Year Program for students who needed extra time to pass the CAHSEE and graduate, and adult computer training classes. SFIHS just started its Continuing Education Center focused on 5th Year CAHSEE prep and adult ESL. Technology in these schools was key to success as students depended on computer software and the Internet to learn English and other subjects.
KALW’s summer internship program and soon to be introduced Audio Academy thrived on technology. At a radio station, it’s not just about computers; it’s also about recorders, microphones, speakers, headphones, editing systems and other specialized tech to deliver the audio story. Students, alongside the station’s professionals, were constantly connected to technology.
The need for technology in education even grabbed the attention of the White House. The Obama administration introduced ConnectED, which aims to provide high-speed broadband access to 99 percent of America’s students in schools. Hi-speed is defined as no less than 100Mbps with a target of 1Gbps.
These are just a few of the stories from the past school year about technology in the classroom. The need exploded for high-speed bandwidth and creative ways to use technology that inspires, engages and helps students and adults learn. The education technology industry is growing fast to keep up with the need. The challenge will be figuring out what works and what is really helpful for teachers, students and administration.
Over the summer, ACE Spectrum plans to continue the conversation by reporting on projects and results from the ACE Partner Schools and our Continuing Education Partners.
But proof that technology is working in the classroom is found in the words of Paola Ramirez, first place winner of the ACE/Alpha Poetry Contest:
“The computers at Alpha are cool.”