Miami-Dade County schools are working to make technology accessible to every student.
At iPrep Academy in downtown Miami, for example, classrooms are filled with more laptops than textbooks.
“I think the superintendent’s goal with this school was to break with the traditional paradigm of a classroom of sitting looking straight at a chalkboard or a whiteboard, 52 minutes in one class, and move on to the next. ‘No day is the same at iPrep’ is what I tell everybody,” said senior Claudia Cerededa.
iPrep classes are small, and teachers work with students individually in a technology rich environment.
“It’s always something new, it’s always a new experience,” Cerededa said.
iPrep is a magnet school that opened its doors two years ago. The teachers here insist it is the school of the future.
“Education has changed because the students have changed,” said lead teacher Laura Hernandez. “They just gravitate towards technology. It’s in their fiber as they grow up, so we’ve had to change to keep up with the kids really.”
Private high schools also face the challenge of keeping teaching relevant in their students’ technological world.
The lead math teacher at Christopher Columbus Senior High School records his lessons so his students can later access them on YouTube.
“Mr. Moro does the online videos if you’re absent and the notes online if we miss something in class,” said Christopher Columbus sophomore David Mejia. “I guess it’s really helpful that you never miss anything. You always know what’s going on.”
Carlos Moro said that even after years of teaching, every day is a learning process.
“If I stay behind and I fight the change that is inevitable, I’m only hurting my students,” he said. “I have to step up and be more technological to teach by example.”
The students, who have computers in many of the classrooms, also have access to six computer labs.
“It is a complete change from the way we used to teach before in the sense that before it was the teacher in front of the classroom,” said technology director Elena Alvarez. “Now it is more interaction.”