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International Guests Explore Verizon Innovative Learning Program at San Jacinto Intermediate

International Guests Explore Verizon Innovative Learning Program at San Jacinto Intermediate
Posted on 02/05/2014
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San JacintoSan Jacinto Intermediate School welcomes eight educators from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Scotland engaged in Verizon Foundation-supported education programs.

San Jacinto

San Jacinto

San Jacinto

San Jacinto Intermediate students were not the only ones who benefited from classroom lessons recently. The school welcomed eight educators from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Scotland engaged in Verizon Foundation-supported education programs. Guests came to San Jacinto Intermediate to learn the campus’ best practices for effectively using technology to improve student learning and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Visitors explored seventh and eighth grade science and math classrooms where students and staff demonstrated their use of mobile technology through a variety of virtual interactive programs such as Project Share, Google Earth, thinklink and Socrative.

The school’s principal Dianna Walker says they came to the right place.

“This has been a great learning experience for all of us,” Walker said. “It is both invigorating and validating.”

San Jacinto teachers talked to guests about their experience with the new technology and how it has positively impacted students. Kristen Knox, a seventh grade San Jacinto math teacher, was fascinated by differences in availability of technology resources in different countries.

“It was very interesting to see an outsider’s perspective,” Knox said. “Some of them said computers were scarce in their schools. It was enlightening to hear their concerns and it was especially fun to see how the kids reacted to visitors.”

The international group was impressed by the effectiveness of the curriculum-based technology and virtual classrooms. Kim Swanson of Norway, Europe described them as both stimulating and highly educational.

“I am blown away by the school’s effective use of technology and I am impressed with how the school is run,” Swanson said. “In Norway we only have about 20 computers that the whole school has to share, so to experience this is amazing. We have learned so much from our visit.”

Verizon Innovative Learning School

San Jacinto Intermediate became a Verizon Innovative Learning School earlier this fall, when they received $50,000 to use for preparing students for careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) while integrating the latest technology into mobile devises and netbooks. Verizon partnered with the International Society for Technology in Education to provide staff with professional development training in a variety of formats including differentiated instruction, technology integration, curriculum activities and more.

The school also received a year-long training program and an additional $15,000 for the second year of the program. Verizon officials said the program will allow staff at San Jacinto to integrate technology into school curriculum and collaborate with industry professionals in the field.

“The professional development is focused on how to best leverage mobile technology in the math and science classrooms to impact STEM achievement,” Kristin Townsend, the Verizon Innovative Learning program manager said. “Right now, we are looking at changes in student engagement and changes in student achievement as a result of all the professional development.”

BEST21 International Education Program

The international visit was made possible through the newly launched BEST21 program which allows educators from countries around the world to tour campuses and learn about new mobile learning technologies and teaching practices. Developed by World Education, in collaboration with the International Education Business Partnership Network and Verizon, visitors plan to use their experience to help break down barriers to technology use in their country’s schools so students can have better access to some of the same educational experiences as those at San Jacinto.

“We noticed that some of the educational problems we have in the United States with STEM are the same in Europe.” Beatrice Tassot, a Verizon Foundation representative said “They are going to extract what they learned here and connect that to the science and math based courses in their home countries. The educators will then cascade what they are learning from San Jacinto teachers and share that knowledge with their colleagues to help them increase student interest and participation in STEM subjects.”

Netbooks Help San Jacinto Make STEM Breakthrough

San Jacinto is working toward improving academic achievement and engagement in math and science courses by providing STEM-based mobile technology for students and teachers. In fact, the school received recognition from Verizon for their 1-to-1 program, which equipped nearly all seventh and eighth grade students with brand-new netbook computers.

Netbooks allow students and teachers to collaborate through online resources. Additionally, they empower students to learn independently and feel confident about assignments. The 1-to-1 program was one component to this advanced technological movement that has San Jacinto reaching a new level in STEM education.

“We are so thankful to have support from Verizon and that we get to share this opportunity with international educators,” Walker said. “Today, we are accomplishing every educator’s goal: to further enhance the learning experiences of all our children locally and internationally.”