POWER ON TEXAS: The Digital Learning Revolution, Part 3 of 5

POWER ON TEXAS: The Digital Learning Revolution, Part 3 of 5


[ Music ]>>Technology not only
connects students and teachers, it plays a vital role in connecting students
to the outside world. For example, in tiny Arp.>>There’s about 900
and maybe 80 students in the whole district. Our economically
disadvantaged population is about 54 to 56 percent. We have no radio
station, no television, no museum, no library. We’re just a small,
bedroom community basically, for the Tyler/Longview area. And, since we don’t even really
have a whole lot of business in Arp area, we don’t have
employment opportunities in the Arp area, either. And so, what we’re trying to
do is work with our students to give them skills where they
will be ready for the future, for any future in any city
where they go for employment.>>So, the first task for teachers is stimulating
intellectual curiosity and a desire to learn that will
take students wherever their interests lead them.>>Our kids do not typically
get a chance to go out and see museums or go out and
see things that, you know, a kid in a big city
might get to see. So, you know, we have to
find ways to spark learning.>>Technology has
pushed our children to think outside the box and get
out of this community and see that there’s other things
out there that they can do.>>Floydada ISD, a small, West
Texas district more isolated than Arp, faced similar
challenges.>>Ideally, we would
like our students to see past the city limit
signs here in Floydada.>>Some students are less
fortunate, and so a lot of them have not
been able to travel, I would say within maybe a
hundred miles from Floydada. And, the way it’s
impacted them is, you know, they would never talk about;
well, I’d like to travel to a different country
or so forth.>>They had such very
short limitations on themselves before they
got out of high school and they really didn’t see their
futures progressing very far.>>In doing these projects
and allowing the world to come to them through technology, you
know, after they’ve presented and they’re talking,
they’re collaborating. I’ve heard, you know, several
of my students emphasizing that they can’t wait to travel
to South America, Australia or these exotic places
that they’ve researched on.>>I was able to
take that opportunity and benefit even more from it
by being able to do something like study in Spain
for a summer semester.>>Technology closed another
gap for Floydada students; the physical gap between them and the nearest college
or university.>>When you’re 70 miles away from the closest
community college, 85 percent low socio-economic
students; you know, that doesn’t compute into
kids continuing or going on to post-secondary education.>>Having a laptop for every
student made taking dual credit courses with far away South
Plains College practical and affordable.>>So, this is huge
for our students to begin their college
coursework at Floydada High School,
where they have the support of their high school teachers
to help make them successful. More than half of our seniors
this year took at least one, and most of them took many
more than one, online course.>>There are several
people I can think of that wouldn’t have gone
to college without it, just because they do have a
head start and they’ve saved so much money doing it this way. It’s way easier for them. [ Music ]>>In El Paso, educators
are also closing distances; in this case, through
video conferencing.>>We’re so excited
to see you, Dallas. How are you this morning? [ Sound of cheering ] Everybody say; Hi, El Paso!>>We were looking up to
video conference with someone in our state, Cowart
Elementary in Dallas, Texas. It looks to me that
we’re at the same level of socio-economic impact
and cultural impact as the school in Dallas.>>We have 19 students
in our class. How many do you have? [ Several children
speaking at once ]>>20>>Our class sizes were the
same, which is really neat. And so, this should be a
perfect set up this year for students to have e-pals.>>I think the greatest thing
that children can get is that not only are there
other children out there in the world the same age
besides just their school and neighborhood,
but that they’re able to see different cultures
in different cities.>>Have any of you
been to the state fair? [ Several children
speaking at once ]>>A few of you have.>>We’re able, as we’re writing
our letters to our pen pals, to do editing and publishing. We’re able to send
e-mail electronically. So, all of that can be
involved through language arts.>>I speak both fluent
English and Spanish. [ child speaks Spanish]
It’s nice to meet you. Do any of you speak Spanish? [ Several children
speaking at once ]>>Yes.>>Wow, is that about
half your class?>>That’s pretty
awesome that you guys…>>I think the greatest thing
that video conferencing brings to us is social etiquette. Children must learn to sit still
because it distorts the picture. Children must learn to be quiet
and allow others to speak. Common manners are reinforced
during video conferencing. But, what we tell
the children is; you think about it,
boys and girls. There’s jobs all over the world
and if you want to go work in Africa or you want
to go work in Europe, chances are for your first
interview it’s going to be over a video conference.>>We’re going to get to show
them things and they’re going to get to ask us
questions and everything.>>You get to talk
to new people.>>We’re going to
be, like friends.>>We’re going to write them
letters and send them pictures.>>I’d like to do a video
conference every day.>>Say goodbye Dallas!>>Goodbye, Dallas!>>Have a good weekend,
everybody.>>The really important thing about the video conferencing
equipment, and actually all of Web 2.0, is that it
knocks down the walls. It just completely knocks down
the walls of their campus. They’re no longer limited to
staying within that classroom. The video conferencing
equipment, the Web 2.0 tools, allow students to jump way
beyond our geographical area.>>Video conferencing is
also used to great advantage within the district, extending
a single teacher’s reach to several classrooms.>>We’ve created a
network within our district of video conferencing, another
virtual school where students in a school that
may not have access to a particular course could
through video conferencing take that course with another
one of our campuses.>>Now we’re really breaking
the mold and we’re finding ways that we can use technology to really overcome
teacher shortages in these advanced areas. AP teachers are very
hard to get, especially AP teachers
in very niche areas. AP art teachers are
very difficult to find. AP music teachers are
very difficult to find. So, if you find one and you’re
able to share that teacher on multiple campuses, that’s what that
technology allows us to do. Those students that wouldn’t
be able to take those courses, all of a sudden through the use of video conferencing
technology, have access to that teacher,
have access to the course. It enriches their entire high
school or learning experience.>>How many of you think
you have it already? Okay, cool. Good. Let’s give you one
more shot at it, though. If you think you have
it, check your work.>>What we’re seeing
is that the enrollment in dual credit classes is
exploding in our district. A few years ago it was just
a few hundred students, and now there’s thousands of
students in our high schools that are actually enrolled
in dual credit classes. And so, that tells us that we’re
putting the idea of college into the minds of kids that wouldn’t normally
have those ideas. [ Music ]

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