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Chisago Lakes Schools

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home : schools : schools May 24, 2016

11/8/2012 8:43:00 AM
Chisago Lakes High School, always moving forward
Dave Ertl

Today’s technology for some of us is a foreign language spoken or a diagram that we can’t decipher. But for students, it’s their way of life. Research is showing that the adolescent brain is wired vastly different than previous generations. They are wired for this technology and it is the mode that they learn from best. Schools must move to capture this type of learning methodology and deliver course content in diverse ways that embed technology and tap into learning styles. Harnessing 21st Century technology to improve our student achievement is something that Chisago Lakes High School has embraced.

An initiative that has moved from a pilot project last year into full implementation is the “opening up” of personal learning devices or PLDs, into our building. Students can utilize their PLDs for educational purposes in classrooms and larger learning areas. PLDs can take the shape of ipods, ipads, Kindles, Nooks (or other tablets), laptop computers, and cell phones. School resources have not kept up with many of these educational devices, which the district can’t provide each student. With many of these devices already in our students’ hands, allowing them to be brought into the classroom for educational purposes was a natural step in utilizing 21st Century technology in the school learning environment. Another program that we are just scratching the surface on is what we call “hybrid classrooms” or “flipped classrooms”.

Again, utilizing technology as a mode of content delivery, hybrid courses are a mixture of traditional teacher instruction with the addition of flexible on-line instruction. Students are required to watch lectures, complete reading on-line assignments, journaling, etc. outside of class from an on-line site (Moodle). Then they spend actual class time in large group activities such as dramatizations, discussions, hands-on lab experiences, etc. These types of learning methods tap into the best national resources along with our local facilitated instruction. Currently we are offering two courses in this manner: Web Design II and a new College Animal Science (this course is worth five University of Minnesota college credits). We have many other classrooms that are not fully hybridized but are utilizing activities and units that are delivered using this “flipped” technology. For the 2013-2014 school year, we are hopeful to add other courses and content areas to the “hybrid/flipped” classroom model of delivery. The final program that we will be bringing to CLHS next fall is Project Lead the Way (PLTW).

PLTW has developed a 4-level course system which, when combined with our college preparatory math and science courses in high school, will introduce CLHS students to the content and rigors of engineering and engineering technology prior to entering college. PLTW integrates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) into courses that are hands-on and minds-on. The courses being explored for CLHS are: • Introduction to Engineering Design (Fall of 2013) • Principles of Engineering (Fall of 2013) • Civil Engineering and Architecture (Fall of 2014) • Engineering Capstone (Fall of 2015) The course work’s aim is to expose more students to engineering, and will allow students while still in high school, to determine if engineering is the right pathway for them. Students successful in PLTW are gaining access to some of the elite colleges and universities through college credit granted through the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State University.

CLHS is excited to bring these 21st Century technology skills into our system but more excited about what our students will do in the future with the skills gained while attending CLHS! I wish to conclude by inviting the community to a forum on marijuana usage and the adolescent. Dr. Charles Reznikoff will speak to our community to inform on the negative impacts marijuana has on our teens and to challenge us to begin community conversations on how to reduce marijuana use. Dr. Reznikoff is an addiction medicine doctor at Hennepin County Medical Center. Please join us on Monday, November 26, at 7 p.m. at the Chisago Lakes High School Preforming Arts Center. This event is sponsored by Chisago Lakes High School and the Community Partnership with Youth and Families.

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