Wednesday, July 25, 2012

AHS New Tech Opens August 20

The Arkadelphia School District is anticipating the August 20, 2012 opening of the New Tech wing at Arkadelphia High School  This summer, the school has undergone renovations that will accommodate the students, teachers and state-of-the-art technology that will make New Tech a reality for our 9th grade class.

During the fall semester of 2011, the Arkadelphia School District participated in several meetings and site visits with New Tech Network based out of Napa, California.  The Governor and his Workforce Development Council announced the Arkansas STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) initiative in August of 2011.  In January of 2012, Arkadelphia was chosen as one of the first school districts in Arkansas to begin this innovative transformation.

The planning process for Arkadelphia Public Schools included board members, administrators, community / business leaders and faculty members from our school district.  District representatives visited Manor New Technology High School near Austin, TX and Cross County High School-New Tech in Cherry Valley, Arkansas as part of the selection process.  APSD also hosted a team of New Tech Network representatives in Arkadelphia to assess the district's readiness as an applicant and leader in this progressive initiative.

9th grade students will be issued a laptop computer and will use special ECHO software to navigate their academic courses.  Student courses will be paired with two instructors (Algebra / Physical Science; Civics / English; and  Engineering / Geometry) and will be presented utilizing the Project-Based Learning approach.

For more information on New Tech Network, please click on the link below to visit the website and/or review our summary from their site below...

New Tech Network is a non-profit organization that helps students gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life, college, and the careers of tomorrow. They work nationwide with schools, districts, and communities to provide services and support that enable schools to fundamentally re-imagine teaching and learning.

Project-based learning is at the heart of its instructional approach. In project-based learning, learning is contextual, creative, and shared. Students collaborate on projects that require critical thinking and communication. By making learning relevant to them in this way, student engagement reaches new levels. This higher level of engagement is associated with better educational outcomes.

The smart use of technology supports its innovative approach to instruction and culture. All classrooms have a one-to-one computing ratio. With access to Web-enabled computers and the latest in collaborative learning technology, every student becomes a self-directed learner who no longer needs to rely primarily on teachers or textbooks for knowledge and direction. New Tech schools use Echo, an online learning management system to create a vibrant network which helps students, teachers, and parents connect to each other, and to student projects across the country.

Finally, each New Tech school maintains a culture that promotes trust, respect, and responsibility. At New Tech schools, students and teachers alike have exceptional ownership of the learning experience and their school environment. Working on projects and in teams, students are accountable to their peers and acquire a level of responsibility similar to what they would experience in a professional work environment.

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