In the United States, educational experiments are in progress, which allows students to spend more time out of the classroom. A key aspect of these experiments include mobile devices that redefine the old Victorian model of teaching, increasing performance in students by making learning fun! Imagine that! On top of this, costs are cut for administration and facilities.
The downside to this new model is accessibility to mobile devices as well as teacher knowledge of gadgets. Cicely Benoit, an instructor for one of these schools called A+ UP states, “Technology is awesome but you still can’t replace the human and physical connection.”
Although these new types of school are only at the beginning stages, incorporating mobile devices are rapidly gaining momentum. In 2013, out of 2600 schools polled, 10% allowed students to use electronic devices.
The head of the Office of Education Technology stated, “Learning is always mobile but what we’re talking about here is technology catching up with that.”
Although technology can increase students’ interest, does it have a positive impact on achievement? Darrell West, director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution says, “The research is inconclusive.”
In Beverly Hills, Nexus Academy of Royal Oak is one of seven charter high schools operated by an education company called Pearson. Students go to school for four hours a day, four days a week.
A 16-year old student, Alexis Baker, says that because of the flexible approach to learning, she is able to spend more time on dance practice. Teleconferencing is used for some courses where students can hang out in the lounge area to listen. Robots transmit the faces and voices of students to teachers’ screens allowing that one-to-one contact to still exist.
On the national Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) half of the students from A+ UP scored at the top end of the math scores last year. This showed a 29% increase. Reading scored even higher, going from 35% of the students to 66% in the upper half scores. So the proof is in the pudding. Technology could be the way to improve test scores all round.
[Image via jlconradie]