For the seventh year in a row, the Benicia Education Foundation gears up for their annual Run for Education, to help raise money to fund programs in our local schools. Thousands of athletes of all abilities, from Benicia and the Bay Area, line up each year for the 5K and 10K footrace. The money raised helps BUSD reach its technology goals. “As a parent with a freshman in college, I now see how important it is for our kids to be competitive in the real world, says race director Teresa Zabrek. It gives me great pride putting on such a fun, healthy event, in addition to knowing that the funds are going to something so important as our children’s future.” BUSD Superintendent Janice Adams emphasizes this year’s focus to improve technology integration into the classroom. “Step one is to get every teacher an iPad,” says Adams. “The Benicia Education Foundation is a major supporter of that effort. We greatly appreciate that the BEF also provides ongoing support for school librarians. In many districts, library doors are closed, but ours remain open.”
Adams is quick to point out that the parent-teacher organizations are also supporting the tech effort. “Parent-teacher organizations at each school site are also supporting technology, and we are so grateful for their hard work—their sustained efforts helps BUSD to better prepare students.”
So how does the tech thrust help kids? According to Ruben Fernandez, BUSD’s Supervisor of Information and Educational Technology, “We are committed to develop learning environments for students to use digital media to communicate and work collaboratively to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.” At the primary level, ‘Mobile Labs’ laden with MacBook Air computers go directly into the classroom for project-based learning, including writing, movie editing and classroom news projects. According to Fernandez, there are two Mobile Labs at each elementary school site, which teachers can check out at any time.
At the secondary level, kids are collaborating on projects using Google apps, and working closely with teachers. Teachers can communicate with students and students can turn in documents using web-based applications. “We are also committed to creating learning environments for students to be able to use technology to analyze and explore,” says Fernandez.