"The students are reaching far beyond the dreams they had as little children and into a world that has no limits."
- Jeff Mathews, Principal, Gwinnett School of Math, Science and Technology
Watch this video and see just how fast and far our neighboring school system in Gwinnett has managed to leapfrog our schools. This is the kind of high-tech learning and partnering with corporate sponsors happening in so many schools around the country - all while our school system flounders and sputters with unfocused, racially-biased leaders who will not place the most qualified, most serious and most capable leadership in place in order to bring our students into the 21st century with our neighbors and the world.
I learned about this Gwinnett initiative from T.H.E. Journal (Transforming Education through Technology). Click here for a list of k-12 topics to read up on or browse their extensive library of white papers and webinars. You may need to set up a user account, but it is free and the information is cutting edge.
"The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."
-- Futurist Alvin Toffler
One of my favorite topics has been about the use of iPads in schools. Folks, it's getting to be time to ditch the heavy textbooks. Students today need to be internet and computer savvy if they are to function in the world. This use of personal computers is the gateway to a lifelong love of learning. In addition to classroom lessons, students can find animated examples or video seminars on any topic at hand. If they are struggling with a concept, they can check in with the Khan Academy during lunch or study time to have something explained.
Click here to read a post I republished featuring a school system in Massachusetts that implemented the iPad for 1 to 1 learning. Systems all over the country are jumping on the technology bandwagon. Click here to read about Chicago city schools systemwide use of iPads. I think DeKalb has an opportunity to think far outside of our current "box" and leap with both feet into the promising waters of personal computing for our students.
Just think: Students could take their tests on their computers, giving them instant feedback and allowing for daily tracking of progress. Our technical colleges in Georgia already use an online learning system called "My Learning Lab" where students do reading, comprehension, writing and math assignments and reap instant feedback as to what they understood, what they did not, and what sections they need to revisit. It's so effective to understand immediately where you advanced and where you may have fallen down. It's data collection at its finest and most powerful -- directly given to the user and his or her teacher. Student data is stored in a mainframe cloud and can be revisited by future teachers in order to see where a student may need remediation. Instantly. No scanning. No waiting for reports. No central office interference. That's why it's called 1 to 1. Learning after all, is an individual endeavor in the end.
Let's take the leap. Encourage your board member to hire a superintendent ASAP so that students can regain their lost momentum. As a reward for their patience and perhaps a way to right a wrong, let's leapfrog other school systems and be the leaders in advanced learning -- One to One!
On a Good Note: For a fine example of a brand new high tech initiative in DeKalb, read Kim's post about the new program coming to Cross Keys this fall. IMO, it's the best thing we have to offer students interested in engineering and technology. Encourage techie students you might know to apply!
RAMP Comes to Cross Keys to Serve Area High Schoolers