Monday, June 9, 2014

Learning Goes 1:1 @ Coachella Valley USD

The Coachella Valley Unified School District boldly deployed an iPad for every student this year. From kindergarteners through high school seniors, all 18,000 students of CVUSD were able to get an iPad checked out to them for the year. The CVUSD staff acknowledges that the road to a 1:1 implementation is not always smooth. But through hard work, perseverance and belief in what they are doing, the teachers and students have made great strides in using this technology to enhance teaching and learning.

I visited CVUSD's Cahuilla Desert Academy (CDA) on May 29th. On that day, a group of educators from across southern California were given a chance to see middle school students using their tablets to transform learning in their classrooms. The morning started in CDA's high tech library media center with presentations by several students. And the visit ended with presentations from Superintendent Dr. Darryl Adams, Director of K-12 Technology Michelle Murphy, and Mobile Learning Initiative Administrator Isreal Oliveros. In between those times, the group was able to visit many of the classrooms and see the technology in action. All of the visitors that day were impressed with the overall integration of technology into the curriculum.

In particular, I was struck with Mr. Ham's 7th grade biology class. Like many 7th grade science teachers in California, Mr. Ham had his students dissecting owl pellets. However, Mr. Ham's students were also engaged in a transformational use of technology. These students were using their iPads to capture snippets of video during each stage of the process of their owl pellet project. So by the time these students had gone through the process of dissecting the pellets, sorting and classifying the bones, and reconstructing the skeleton of the small mammal eaten by the owl, they had compiled a video montage of the entire process. Then they could then narrate their video in oder to deepen their understanding of body structures and to share their learning. With permission from Coachella Valley USD, here are a few of the final students video projects:
Video 1
Video 2
Video 3

During his presentation, Dr. Adams pointed out the importance of having access to technology available to every student in the district. He stressed that the students in his community deserved no less than what students in higher wealth communities have access to. It was a powerful sight to move from classroom to classroom seeing students engaged in their learning.and seamlessly incorporating technology into their activities.

Dennis Large
educator & learner

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