How Technology Transforms Education in Rural Districts
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela
There is no question we live in the ‘Digital Era”. However, there are many people who are on the wrong side of the digital divide; aging desktop computers in the classroom and many families lacking Internet access at home.
Eloy Elementary School District consists of four schools from pre-school through junior high and serves approximately 1,000 students.
Eloy, Ariz., a city of just under 17,000, lies in the desert landscape about an hour from the urban centers of Phoenix and Tucson. In this farming community, a significant portion of the population lives below the poverty level.
Danny Rogers, the principal of Eloy Intermediate School says that the Metropolitan areas certainly have larger amounts of money rolling into their programs.
To provide greater access to technology – and help prepare students to compete at colleges and in the workforce— Eloy applied for and received a grant. “Why Rural Matters 2011-12,” a report by the non-profit Rural School and Community Trust, identified Arizona’s rural districts as among the highest priority nationwide, with the second lowest funding per pupil and fewer than seven in 10 students graduating. Seeking to maximize this opportunity, it was critical that the district select technology that would enable a transformation in the learning environment.
New Classroom Technology Re-engages Students and Re-empowers Teachers
After assessing a number of options, Eloy selected Samsung School, an integrated classroom technology package incorporating Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets, interactive whiteboards, wireless printers, tied together by powerful classroom management software.
Though Samsung School had been piloted in more than 20 countries, the initiative at Eloy is the largest deployment yet in the United States.
Students have learned how to use the Samsung School technologies just as quickly. They especially enjoy the touchscreen interactivity of the Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets, and the ability to view and find apps easily.
“Overall, the Samsung School solution is extremely user friendly and easy to troubleshoot,” said teacher Bethany Baker. “It’s exciting the way Samsung School allows us to engage our students, the way we can research something on the spot, the way we can push things out to students—it gives us everything at our fingertips.”
The Long-term and Future Effects of Samsung School
Samsung School enables teachers to personalize learning for struggling and ELL students. Baker, who teaches a fifth- and sixth-grade combined English Language Development (ELD) has experienced this firsthand with her students.
“The ability I have with Samsung School to utilize apps so students can hear words and put those words into sentences really tailors the lesson to students’ needs,” she said. “They can now practice one on one with me, in groups or independently. I believe it’s going to have a direct effect on how quickly the students learn the language.”
They supplement Samsung School by utilizing online educational resources such as Khan Academy, Think Central, Galileo ATI, Learn Zillion, Learning A-Z, Brainpop and Renaissance. And e-books are slated for purchase next year—another step toward immersive digital learning.
A more effective use of technology is helping this rural school district with a small budget, deliver a world-class education to its community. Teachers are professionally recharged, using Samsung School to infuse a greater sense of wonder and desire for knowledge in their students. Classes are more student-centric and personalized, and students are empowered by the knowledge and skills they are able to obtain.
But ultimately it’s about the positive impact on student achievement.
“Because of Samsung School, students are now able to compete at a global level,” said Baker. “It brings learning to a whole new level. It lets our community and parents see that we want what’s best for our students: to prepare them for college and the workforce.”
“We look forward to seeing the Samsung School technology continuing to have a positive impact on student learning at Eloy and many more schools in the future.” said Tod Pike, senior vice president at Samsung Electronics America’s Enterprise Business Division.
ESG > Citizenship