Across America, administrators, parents, software developers, architects and teachers are working together to re-imagine classrooms from the ground up. The result? Classrooms where every student has a laptop, every lesson is enhanced with online tools, and master teachers work with assistants to break classes into smaller working groups for highly personalized lesson plans.
Walk into San Diego’s High Tech High and you’ll notice that nearly everything looks different. The classrooms feel more like labs. Classes run longer. Teachers work in teams. And students present in Powerpoint. The results are impressive, from student performance to faculty retention and parent satisfaction.
To make it all work, administrators had to change the way they invest in hardware, software, infrastructure and staff. They also had to reform their procurement policies, budget guidelines and labor contracts. Each aspect of a student’s day was examined, and every stakeholder at the school made concessions – all in order to use the latest technologies to their fullest potential.
Walk into any classroom across the Mooresville school district in North Carolina, and you’ll find a student with a laptop working with a teacher equipped to use the latest in online tools. As with High Tech High, the results are impressive. One of North Carolina’s poorer school districts, Mooresville has risen to become one of its most effective. The investment, in money for computers and training, is unprecedented. But what strikes visitors most is the commitment demonstrated by parents, teachers and administrators across the community.
At model schools like High Tech High and the Mooresville school district, technology solutions are supported by a web of institutional practices that encourage integration and innovation. All the stakeholders know how the technology works for them, so they can use it to their advantage. With this framework in place, these model schools make the most of new tools to improve content, measure student progress, customize lesson plans to individual needs, provide new opportunities for professional development and give students access to new ways to learn.