Lokelani Intermediate School and Kalama Intermediate School have joined a groundbreaking national program that grants 24/7 internet access and tablets to every student. The Maui-based middle schools were recently selected to join the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program, which is using mobile technology to extend learning beyond the traditional classroom.
The two-year program, directed by the nonprofit Digital Promise, will provide students at both intermediate schools with digital tablets and Verizon 4G LTE connectivity that gives them Internet access for learning at school, at home and on the go; Digital Promise is an independent, bipartisan nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to spur innovation in education.
“Innovative technological solutions–like the initiative we launched today–can be transformative for education, but the magic is truly in the people who utilize these tools,” said Ian Yahya, vice president of Verizon in Hawaii. “I’m inspired by the passion, enthusiasm and sincere love of learning we recognize in the Kalama and Lokelani students.”
In addition, teachers at both schools will receive ongoing professional development to integrate mobile technology into instruction across all subjects and put into practice more individualized and experiential learning methods.
Both schools will have dedicated learning coaches and will introduce new science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives.
The VILS program was designed to provide new learning opportunities, especially outside the classroom and to those without high-speed Internet connections at home.
“The Department of Education is building Future Ready Learning environments in our schools and the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program complements our efforts,” said Stephen Schatz, Hawaii State Department of Education deputy superintendent. “With the right tools, support and professional development, teachers will engage more students and prepare them for a future of college, career and community readiness.”
The VILS program will provide the Maui School District up to $3 million in equipment, service and training over the two-year period depending on the need of the district and the number of students participating.
Verizon is dedicated to using technology to help students achieve brighter futures, according to a statement. Mobile technology puts a powerful learning tool in students’ hands and gives them the freedom to solve problems, share information and use learning tools virtually anywhere.
By enabling this independence, Verizon seeks to encourage students to innovate through creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and entrepreneurship and prepare them with the technology proficiency to compete in today’s economy.
Teachers outside of the Maui district will also benefit from the program; resources will be available online and at no cost for use by teachers anywhere in their own classrooms. The resources will include best practices, teacher insights, stories and more from the Maui school district and others participating schools across the country. Teachers interested in accessing these resources can visit Verizon.digitalpromise.org.
Verizon launched the VILS program in 2012 and has carefully tracked its results through teacher and student surveys as well as students’ standardized test scores. The results have shown that: VILS program teachers spend more time teaching students at an individual level; students are more engaged in school, and: student grades have improved.
Kalama and Lokelani are two of 13 new intermediate schools across the country joining the VILS program this year. The program has already reached 32 schools, 15,838 participating students and 556 participating teachers.
For more information, visit Verizon.com/about/responsibility/empowering-educators.
Photo courtesy Bennet Group/Verizon