Carson Middle School shows off Nevada 21 tech effort
Nevada administrators had the opportunity to see recent technology implementations in action Wednesday morning.
Representatives from the Nevada Department of Education, the Carson City School District and Douglas County School District spent the morning at Carson Middle School to see how technology has been integrated into the classroom through the Nevada Ready 21 program.
“We wanted them to know what we are doing with technology and how it has increased student engagement and learning,” said LeAnn Morris, technology implementation specialist for Carson schools. “When policy makers come to the Department of Education, the representatives there can tell them exactly what we are doing.”
Nevada Ready 21 is personalized, learner centered education to help provide students with a 21st century education built around infusing technology in the classroom. This program is a multi-year plan, established in 2014, that has allocated nearly $20 million across Nevada for the technology implementation.
The educators were all provided Chromebook laptops, similar to what the students have, and were able to experience and see the different ways the middle school staff integrated the technology into their classroom. They sat into classes for math, science, media and English and learned with the students.
“We wanted to make it engaging for our visitors so they have a better insight to what the kids are doing,” Morris said.
The educators saw the students using their technology to create websites and video in Rob Hostler’s media class; used their computers to build and test on plant structures in Justin Clark’s science class; and used webcams to display formulas in Mitchell Gregovich’s math class.
“It is incredible,” said Dr. Kimberly Vindoni, state director of Education Technology with the Nevada Department of Education. “I work at the state level so we make sure the program works but it is rare to get to see it in action. We know it is working so it’s nice to see it from the ground level that it is keeping students engaged and learning.”
Morris said another important component of the Nevada Ready 21 program is to get students prepared for college, careers or other post-secondary options by providing them with a greater host of skills.
“(For example with the media class) they learn a whole different set of skills to enhance and embellish skills,” Morris said.
One student, eighth-grader Kasandra Medina-Torres, developed her own app in the classroom to help create a mobile mirror of the school’s news site. She built it in class, and was ready to launch, however, financial obstacles prevented her from doing so.
“I was really excited to post it,” Medina-Torres said.
Daphne DeLeon, the project director for Nevada Ready 21, said she’s pleased to see the project from both a professional and personal level. Her son is an 8th grader at Eagle Valley Middle school and she said she has seen her son use the technological knowledge from school outside of the classroom.
“He was able to use his Chromebook and what he learned to look up how to create and make a stress ball for his (grandmother when she injured her wrist).” DeLeon said. “So it becomes relevant and the learning doesn’t stop and can help to solve real life problems.”