The Main Stream

Aug 17, 2010 7:57 AM

Technology could help struggling westside school

Tucson - Maxwell Middle School on the west side was seriously underperforming last year.

The entire faculty and staff, about 45 employees, were fired.

Only 11 were hired back for this school year and they're returning to some special tools.

In this Kristi's Kids investigation, we see how technology could turn the struggling school around.

"Maxwell is one of the schools in TUSD that is most at risk," says Maxwell's new principal Mary Quinan.

Using state grant money, the school bought COW's or Computers on Wheels. Each cart houses 30-netbook computers.

Quinan wants to leverage the technology to lift student performance.

Every single sixth-grader will have access, all day, on campus. Seventh and eighth-graders will use the netbooks in math class only.

270 new computers are ready to go on top of Maxwell's 48 desktops.

"Technology engages students in their learning more so. And when students are engaged in their learning, they retain that learning."

Student assignments will incorporate this new technology. Classrooms are equipped with document cameras, camcorders, web cams and projection screens.

"And the students can tap into the answers. And the teacher immediately will see who knows what and what they know."

They're shifting away from traditional text book learning.

For example students will work together on creating wiki pages, blogs and podcasting. Murray Lewis is the Technology Integration Coach. He will be teaching the teachers who will then instruct the students.

His says collaboration and communication will fire up the students.

"It's a situation where we're talking about integrating 21st century learning skills into our classroom which quite frankly is what corporate America is looking for now."

The netbooks can be used in math, social studies and computer sciences to name a few of the classes. Eventually Maxwell wants all students to have the same access as the incoming sixth-graders

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