Friday, May 24, 2013
Technology Bridging Learning Gap in Rural Alaska
Andrew Morris may be only ten years old, but the sixth grader is using technology to learn and teach others about protecting the environment where he lives.
Andrew Morris may be only ten years old, but the sixth grader is using technology to learn and teach others about protecting the environment where he lives. He calls it the Chevak Waste Project.
“We can recycle some of the things like aluminum cans and plastic bottles, but the trash…We are trying to figure out a way to recycle that,” said Andrew.
He is promoting his idea through a combination of tools, like his iPad, to get people in Alaska and around the world to care the “unbelievable” amount of trash in Chevak.
And, technology is a tool that can teach Alaska’s students real-world skills so they are better prepared for the workforce.
In an effort to make education relevant in today’s economy, a group of educators are in Anchorage to figure out how to get more kids exposed to multiple career fields early on so they can be better prepared for success after graduation.
“If [learning] is made interesting, engaging and shows youth a path, it’s going to keep them invested in school so they can graduate,” said Kitty Farnham, a consultant with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education conference.
Through the use of technology like iPads, computers and the Internet, Alaska’s students are placed on a more level field of learning.
“A kid can learn to run a backhoe on a simulator. It’s not quite the same, but it certainly gives them a leg up when they get to the real thing. And, a lot of it can be done on virtual learning,” said Ed Marman, a career and technology counselor in the Mat-Su Borough School District.
But Steve Pine, superintendent of the Kashunamiut Schools in Chevak, said it is up to educators to stay informed on developing technologies so they can direct students.
Andrew is in Anchorage to present his project at the AACTE conference. He also brought old laptops from Chevak, which will be recycled.
This remarkable young man doesn't take all of the credit for his efforts, either. He said his mom's chocolate chip pancakes helped get the town involved in picking up trash.