In the East Chicago public schools, technology resources and applications from various partners are creating virtual learning experiences that help students from elementary to high school develop new skills, build on that knowledge, earn class credits and prepare for college and post-secondary careers.
At Carrie Gosch Elementary School, for example, students in Michele Lloyd’s classes use individual I-Pads and the Discovery Education digital learning system to learn and practice such skills as telling time. IPADS also give students with verbal challenges a mechanism for communication and expression.
Another classroom at E.C. Central High School utilizes a variety of computers and CompassLearning Odyssey, a system that offers diagnostic assessment, individual learning options and online interactive programming to help students with Individualized Education Programs or IEPs pursue credits and academic grades.
“This technology allows us to set up independent, individualized studies,” says teacher Susan Schuyler, who monitors individual students’ progress. “All the students know what they are supposed to do.”
Juniors and seniors enrolled in Dr. Gabriel Docemo’s anatomy and physiology class use Discovery software to study the form and function of organs such as the human brain to prepare for careers in health care.
In addition to working in class, students can use the technology to study and collaborate with others around the world, giving them a global perspective, he says.
“Students can take a quiz and I can actually monitor and track their progress. With a textbook you can’t do that,” says Dr. Docemo.
The Discovery Education Science Techbook used in this class also provides students with much more than a traditional textbook can, says junior Ruy Resendez, 17.
“It’s a lot more interactive,’ Resendez says. “You can use flash cards for specific vocabulary you’re studying. You can also take pre-quizzes.’
Students in Pete Trgovich’s Credit Recovery Class use the online learning platform PLATO offered through Edmentum Inc. All students work at their own pace, with some re-earning credits for classes not completed previously or taking online classes to earn additional credits.
“I’m taking the online Probability and Statistics course. I’m going for my academic honors diploma and rather than take the second half of a calculus class, I took myself in a different direction,” says Marisol Padilla, 19, a senior who plans to major in social work at Calumet College of St. Joseph in the fall.
Trgovich says he works in conjunction with high school counselors to determine what each student needs, and is the only one who can unlock PLATO’s system so students can take quizzes and tests.
“I design my own classes through PLATO and use their curriculum,” he says. “The students are self-motivated. This is a life skill they are learning. It’s like athletics and this is their sport.”
Recently, Indianapolis-based Edmentum Inc. designated E.C. Central as a Rock Star Leader in Education for student achievements using PLATO from January 2012 to January 2013.
“Edmentum Rock Star Schools recognizes outstanding schools and their inventive and effective uses of the full range of Edmentum learning solutions,” says Matt Ferrell of Edmentum. “With this program, we acknowledge deserving schools around the country that have made a significant difference in helping learners of all ages and needs succeed using online learning solutions.”
“We are very proud of what our students achieve using the technology at our schools,” says Dr. Jane Larson, Chief Academic Officer with the School City of East Chicago.
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School City of East Chicago
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