The Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) was selected to host Education Delegates from the Republic of Korea to discuss the use of STEM education and visit the modern integration of technology in MVCSC classrooms.
Through the International Visitor Leadership Program and the Department of State, 8 Republic of Korea delegates, including two interpreters and a representative from the International Center located in Indianapolis met with MVCSC leadership on July 25, 2017. The delegates represented high schools, universities, teachers, and representatives in the computer industry.
Superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins shared how teachers and students effectively use technology in MVCSC's 1:1 Digital Learning Environment (one computer device for each student/staff). Grades 5 - 12 have Google Chromebooks and Grades Kindergarten - 4 have iPads.
Dr. Robbins also presented how MVCSC utilizes Delayed Start Wednesdays to provide professional development for staff on various applications utilized in the district’s digital learning environment. The use of eLearning Days was explained as an effective use of technology on inclement weather days. This school year, MVCSC will be using two scheduled elearning days where students will essentially go to school at home, using their technology in a “virtual” classroom while teachers are engaged in professional development activities at school. Teachers will have virtual office hours to answer student questions at specified times during the day.
MVCSC is using new Technology Integration Specialists in the upcoming school year to assist teachers in the implementation of digital learning in their classroom. This will ensure that the MVCSC staff is both effective and efficient in the use of modern instructional methods.
A digital convergence theory of action was explained to the Republic of Korea as a program where leadership, instructional models, modern curriculum, digital ecosystem and professional learning all come together to provide a modern learning environment. MVCSC is in the process of transitioning to an environment where student collaboration, as well as progressive and supportive instructional tools will be used to prepare students to succeed in the modern world in which they live.
Mt. Vernon High School Principal Greg Roach shared a few of the digital platforms, such as PLATO and Canvas, that the staff utilizes in their digital instruction. Project based learning and additional digital resources were shared with the Republic of Korea guests.
Mr. Joe Anderson, Math Teacher at Mt. Vernon High School (MVHS), presented his use of technology in algebra classes. He explained how a flipped classroom assigns the student to watch an instructional video from the teacher, and then use their class time to collaborate and engage with the students to maximize their learning.
Mr. Roach led the group on a tour of MVHS to see some of the progressive environments, such as Maker Space, that are being developed. The TV studio and Computer Animated Design (CAD) spaces showcased the direct implementation of technology in education. A Mt. Vernon High School student demonstrated the use of drone technology by flying a drone over part of the campus.
In the upcoming years, classrooms will transition from rows of single desks to groups of desks which allow students to interact and learn from each other. In some Mt. Vernon schools, students will be able to pick what type of chair, stool or ball they prefer to sit on. This simple change to the environment allows students to collaborate and better prepare them for life in the 21st century.
MVCSC was excited to be selected as the state example of effective use of technology in the classroom. MVCSC and the Republic of Korea exchanged contact information to continue to share resources and help improve education internationally.