At Kajeet, we are leaders in education technology. For more than 10 years we have been keeping children of all ages safely connected to the world around them. Every day we talk to district and school leaders who are using technology in unique and innovative ways to drive student engagement and performance.
We wanted to share these outstanding ideas with you in the hope that they may inspire you too! From helping struggling pre-schoolers prepare for kindergarten by teaching pre-reading skills with repurposed laptops to using online courses to earn a dual high school and Associate degree, the classroom of the future is here!
1. Pre-Reading Programs for Rising Kindergarteners
The Lamar Consolidated Independent School District in Texas created the GROW Project for at-risk preschoolers last summer using repurposed laptops along with an early-reading curriculum developed by the Waterford Institute. Data collection is ongoing, but both parents and teachers are extremely pleased with the outcome of the program which will continue this summer.
2. Flipped Classrooms that Work
The Clintondale High School in the Clintondale Community School District, a suburb of Detroit, faced high failure rates, poor student engagement and a major discipline problem. Then Principal Greg Green implemented the flipped classroom through a grant from TechSmith and buy-in from the teachers, parents and school district. Teachers record lectures for the students to watch after school and then take classroom time to work on projects and write papers which allows for much more student-teacher interaction. In just the first year, the saw increased engagement, improved attendance, and even decreased the failure rate by 33 percent!
3. Online AP Classes for All
Cincinnati Public School District wanted their students to think beyond graduation and be better prepared for college and the workforce. Through an initiative they call My Tomorrow’ed, they started out offering AP Geography in four different schools. As part of the program, students were given devices as well as Kajeet SmartSpots® for wireless Internet access. This coming the year they’re expanding the program to include five AP courses, including Human Geography, Psychology, English Literature, Statistics and Environmental Science, at ten schools serving 520 students – and with just six teachers.
4. Virtual Summer School
Roanoke County Public Schools in Virginia, recognized as a top tech innovator by the Center for Digital Education, is doing a lot of things right. One of them is offering virtual summer school to more than 600 registered students. With the use of school-issued or personal devices, now students can take summer school classes from home, on vacation, or wherever they are. Since virtual summer school requires fewer teachers to reach more students, it’s a win-win for everyone.
5. Robotics Competitions Fuel STEM Learning
For students at Carl Hayden Community High School, part of the Phoenix Union High School District, their sheer determination and passion for robotics led them to overcome the odds and beat college teams such as MIT in a national robotics competition several years in a row. At Carl Hayden High, the students come from primarily low-income, Hispanic households where English is a second language. Many were even considering dropping out until Fredi Lajvardi, a teacher at the school, started a robotics program that has inspired and motivated a group of students with limited options.
6. Using the Internet to Learn History in 360 degrees
Another winning tech innovator from the Center of Digital Education, Regional School Unit 21 in Maine is using the Internet to teach history in 360 degrees. Jamie Jensen, IT director, has noticed technology in the classroom has really taken off in the last three years and they are using it to inspire a new breed of historians. “Instead of reading about an event that happened 30 years ago, for instance, they’re able to go online and see the photos and read the reactions and see how social media transforms around a particular event. They can actually experience the whole event as opposed to internalizing it and making their own assumptions.”
7. Online Courses that Earn Dual High School/Associates Degrees
In Roanoke, Virginia, the school board’s longtime 1-to-1 laptop initiative has enabled incredible learning opportunities including online courses that help dual-enrollment students earn Associate degrees from community colleges while they receive their high school diplomas. They’ve even got 90% of their textbooks available online, allowing for learning anywhere students have an Internet connection.