By John Bernhardt, Superintendent of Andes Central School

ACS photo thumbnailThese are exciting times.  Our modern world is awash in a time of change.  Emerging technologies are transforming the way we learn, work, receive medical treatment, and even entertain ourselves.  Human knowledge and creativity is fast becoming the currency of a rapidly changing way of life.

Technology has stepped to the forefront at Andes Central School.  Students and teachers at Andes will be immersed in technology as they explore and learn together.  As school opens in September, each core high school classroom (English, social studies, science, and mathematics) will contain a technology cart.  Carts will be equipped with enough laptop computers that every student can use technology as a learning tool.  Students and staff laptops will have internet access using a wireless network.

In addition, high school classrooms will host LCD projectors and SMART Boards.  Using their laptop, a teacher can project images on the SMART Board, integrate notes with the internet text, and print a copy to share with students.  That instructional innovation is just one of numerous learning applications.

Students instructed in our Distance Learning Laboratory can now attend virtual field trips.  Sitting in our classroom in Andes, youngsters can be digitally transported to museums and institutions of learning all over the world.  For example, youngsters might receive instruction from an engineer at NASA.  The NASA engineer can move through her facility sharing images and providing explanations for her Andes students as she goes.  Based on her lesson, the NASA engineer might assign a student project that will be facilitated by an Andes teacher.  Completed projects could be presented digitally to NASA and comments or even evaluations provided by the engineer.

Without a spirit of adventure, creativity, and a thirst to learn, computers and other educational technology tools are simply machines.  To realize the potential of these learning tools, teachers and students alike must share a pursuit of seeking unique pathways that make learning come alive.  At the same time, it is critical that both keep their eyes fixed on the prize, a common set of learning standards, that drive technology enhanced instruction resulting in improved performance.

Our world continues to change at record breaking speed.  To remain relevant, our school, too, must change.  Technology is an important part of our students’ lives outside of school.  Working together, Andes teachers and students will explore new ways to acquire knowledge and then use that learning to create new knowledge and understandings of their own. ~