Mobile devices, student tech teams and blended learning have education leaders excited this school year.
AMERICAN CANYON, Calif. — Along with mobile device initiatives, school leaders hope that student tech teams and blended learning will help their students succeed.
"I'm excited of the possibilities of differentiating instruction using 1-1 devices," said Jason Horsman, director of instructional technology for Central Unified School District in Fresno, Calif. "Each student could be at a different page at a different level. Differentiated instruction's been around for forever, but the ability to actually do it has been the hardest thing."
"I'm going to implement a ninth grade in the New Tech model, which will have a 1-1 technology to student ratio," said Tim Heck, principal of Sullivan Middle School and Bonsall New Tech High School, a new school that will open in 2014. "And I'm really excited about it because it's going to be a phenomenal opportunity for our community, but also for the students. I mean, we are going to produce students that are college and career ready unlike we've ever been able to do before."
A mobile device for every student is just one technology initiative that school district leaders are excited about this year. And they hope that these types of initiatives will help students succeed, both now and in the future.
"Our students who are educational technology leaders, they're helping us — we're seeking input from them about tools that we adopt," said Angela Estrella, library media teacher at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, Calif. "You know, oftentimes we're evaluating tools, but our end user are the students, and so we think it's important to get their feedback on tools that we're using."
"And it's all about getting kids to be more actively engaged, to being successful," said J-Petrina McCarty-Puhl, science teacher at Robert McQueen High School in Reno, Nev. "And I've raised the success rate of my AP biology class. The teacher before me had three out of 30 students pass the AP exam. Last year I had 11 out of 25 just with the changes I made digitally and the presentation of course material using blended instruction, which is all about technology."