Earlier today, President Obama visited Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland to announce major progress on his ConnectED initiative. Before his remarks, however, he stopped by one of the school’s math classes to chat with students – and have some fun with their technology.
Borrowing a student’s iPad, the President recorded a quick video inside the classroom, highlighting one seventh grader’s “outstanding calculations … describing right angles” while complimenting another student on his tie.
In his speech to the rest of the school, the President detailed how Buck Lodge – and other schools that are also instituting new technologies – are helping students and teachers achieve better results:
Now, here at Buck Lodge, you are showing how we can use technology to teach our young people in innovative ways. And by the way, the principal told me that part of how this got started was some of the stimulus dollars that we put in place almost five years ago now. But every student here has access to their own iPad. And you don’t just write papers or take tests; they’re animating movies, they’re designing blogs, they’re collaborating on multimedia projects. In the world of an 8th grader, Annie Gomez, she says, “You can learn even more, you can take in more, and then you know more about the world.”
And new technologies are helping teachers. So in Mr. Jeter’s science class, students take quizzes on their tablets; he then can check the answers in real time and he can figure out who needs extra help. In Ms. Galinat’s language arts class, students learn vocabulary not just with flashcards, but with online video. In Ms. Stover’s math class -- I was just over with Ms. Stover -- students bring their tablets home to watch lectures about concepts like ratios and rational numbers, and then use the next day’s classroom time applying those concepts to the real world. So technology allows teachers here to spend more time being creative, less time teaching to the test, giving continual feedback, being able to pinpoint where a young person is having trouble because they’re able to see their work right away in a pretty efficient way.
The ConnectED initiative is designed to enrich K-12 education for all of America’s students. Under ConnectED, 99% of students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017, transforming the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income.