Taking a Bite Out of Education
San Jose, CA, September 27, 2012
Since the start of the school year, there have been wonderful things taking place at West Valley Middle School. Numerous changes have been implemented that are currently improving young minds and ensuring that our students do, in fact, start ahead and stay ahead. We’ve received great feedback on many of the programs and electives the students are enjoying, our sports teams have already had a great deal of success this year, our dance team has just begun a promising third season, and students and teachers alike have settled into another stimulating academic year.
There are, as always, significant changes that are bound to take place in your student. We grow as we learn: we gain an inch in height or shoe size, and mirror that inch academically in knowledge. However, fall of 2012 bore witness to a new change in the way our teachers would teach and our students would learn: the introduction of Apple technology in the classroom. The use of iPads in 8th grade classrooms are now a contributing factor to your children’s future academic success. The new iPad program has proven wildly popular and successful—putting West Valley on the cutting edge of educational modernity.
As of September 2012, our middle school instructors and students are making the most of the new technology awarded to them. Students in 8th grade—who are, arguably, more tech-savvy than most of their parents—are learning how to perform research on their iPads, as well as how to type documents and to take notes. Students use the Notes app in order to write down what they cover in the subjects of Science, Language Arts, Spanish, and History. In Math, students use the Khan Academy app in order to view and respond to videos related to newly-introduced math concepts. What we’ve seen so far is that concepts and information is becoming clearer to students through the help of technology.
In fact, the new iPad program will play a unique part in the Language Arts syllabus for eighth graders this year. While the iPads are used for group presentations and projects in multiple classes, Mrs. Frugoli assigned each student an app or two and that they were responsible for researching thoroughly and presenting a tutorial on the app(s) to the class. This has proven to be an extremely educational tool—for both students and teachers—in the regard that an eighth grader must know the technology well enough to teach it to his or her peers. This allows for self-teaching and discovery in ways that were not possible prior to the invention of such equipment.
By making their world both visually and mentally stimulating, students are learning about a variety of new ways to, well, learn. The tools they are gaining are essential in an ever-adapting world that has become increasingly dependent upon the use of technology. Students will, however, be able to move onto high school and college with the tools to confidently access technology while remaining comfortable with traditional tools for performing class and homework. In a sense, it’s a win-win situation. We have every hope that all of our students will learn to be confident using technology, and that they will remain on the brink of innovation throughout their learning careers.
We are proud of all parties—students, their parents, and faculty members—for embracing this wonderfully innovative, educational tool. It is currently enhancing both students’ and teachers’ classroom experiences through the combination of modern-day technology mixed with traditional themes. The students are, quite literally, learning as they play—taking a bite out of conventional learning methods and fueling their minds for future success. At West Valley, we truly start ahead and stay ahead.