David Weissmann is a Verizon Communications manager. Here, he shares his recent experience at a Verizon Innovative Learning event.
My favorite day each year is when I'm privileged to attend a Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) device distribution day. This is the day students receive their personal tablet as part of the VILS program. No matter what month it is, it's Christmas for these kids.
Verizon Innovative Learning funds one-to-one device access for middle school students, and a dedicated instructional coach as a resource for teachers in technologically underserved schools. Each participating school tackles challenges unique to their community. At every school we visit, we seek kids hungry to learn and teachers and administrators passionate and determined to make sure "their kids" are ready for the digital economy of the future.
Sayler Park School in Cincinnati uses Project-Based Learning as its instructional model. Students are guided by faculty as they work independently and in groups on projects. During end-of-year presentations, Principal Jamie Sowders was curious about internet access and how digital inequity impacted their final projects. So he asked. About 60% of students said they don’t have access to the internet at home and most said they would have spent more time working on, or expanding the scope of their projects if they had.
This year, 100% of students at Sayler Park School will have home internet access through their tablets. Lauren Worley, who leads communications at Cincinnati Public Schools, said it best in a tweet “Guys: this is a big deal.”