It is hard to argue with the statement that technology is woven into every aspect of our lives. For most of you reading this Blog and for many others in the field of education, we all believe that technology can have a substantial impact on education. Having the data to back up our claims has been substantially improved from the Team at Project Red who studied over 1000 schools. Their research provided wide reaching evidence “that if effectively implemented, technology programs can lead to improved student achievement and significant return on investment.”
Over the past weeks, my Blogs have shared our experiences at nex+Gen Academy, a small school of choice within the Albuquerque Public Schools. Our hypothesis five years ago when we designed our school was: If we effectively implemented a school design with technology that enables, teaching that engages, and culture that empowers under the modeling and support from our New Tech Network partnership, would our students achieve in becoming college ready and meet the specific criteria of achievement from our State graduation requirements as well college entrance? Our conclusion is a resounding “Yes!”
The New Tech Network School Success Rubric defines success through the lens of student outcomes. It encompasses cultural outcomes, learning outcomes, and college readiness outcomes. Our school was recognized in just our second year as an Exemplary School within the Network, proving that we did implement the overall model with fidelity in such a way that students at nex+Gen were successful or highly successful according to this rubric. Technology has had a major role in helping us get to this status. Our culture revolves around what students should experience in the learning environment and is built on core values of trust, respect, and responsibility Our Culture was enriched in part by all of our learners having immediate access to a learning management system online at school and at home. Communication between facilitator and learner is clear, consistent, and responsive.
The knowledge, skills, and attributes every graduate should demonstrate at nex+Gen Academy are called our school wide learning outcomes. Our One to One program provides several important elements of effectiveness in this area. For example, each facilitator from all disciplines and every grade level at nex+Gen use the same basic rubrics built from the same agreed upon definitions. With 23 teachers and 300 students, this consistency and implementation could only be managed with smart use of technology in our customized learning management system. At nex+Gen Academy we teach, practice, and measure collaboration, inquiry and analysis, agency, and communication – oral, written, and artistic. Students, teachers, and parents all access progress in real time thanks in part to our One to One program.
College and career outcomes are what students need to enter and be successful in postsecondary learning opportunities. At nex+Gen Academy, access to technology in our One to One environment does level the playing field while we actually raise our standards and expectations. nex+Gen Academy is now in the highest performing statistical peer group of high schools in New Mexico. In English Language Arts high stakes testing, our data shows 43% of all nex+Gen students with disabilities are Proficient or Advanced compared to 9% in our District. 67% of all Economically Disadvantaged learners are Proficient or Advanced compared to 34% in APS. Finally our Achievement Gap between Hispanics and White learners was only a 3% difference. These are just a few of the data points that show that implementing technology that enables, teaching that engages, and culture that empowers does improve student achievement.
Originally published 11/06/14 http://www.k12blueprint.com/content/measurable-one-one-learning-success