Friday, December 30, 2011

Punahou School's Success with Technology

By Sean Scarpiello

In 1998, Punahou School in Hawaii ran a pilot to see just how well technology can improve education. The original pilot program was a success and today Punahou School is implementing all of Apple’s products. Currently, Punahou School is renowned for its success in bringing technology into the classroom. As more and more schools begin to introduce their students to new technology, they should try to emulate what Punahou School has done. Punahou School serves as a great example as to how technology should be incorporated into education.

First, it is important to recognize that the teachers at Punahou go through a lot of training to make sure that they know how to use all of Apple’s products. Teachers go to many different workshops to ensure that they can answer any questions students may have about the technology. Most importantly, the teachers are well versed in Apple’s products because they want to ensure that they are getting the most out of every piece of technology. This is important because many schools do not realize that buying the technology is not enough. If teachers and students cannot get the most out of the technology, there is really no use for it. If teachers cannot extract all of the products’ features, it is a waste of the school’s funds. The situation is analogous to buying the latest sports car on the market. Yes it is fast and will go around a track the quickest, but if no one can figure out how to drive a manual transmission, there is really no point in owning it.

Another key aspect about technology in education Punahou focuses on is the future of the students with technology. Class is not based on the blackboard in Punahou, but rather on computers. Teachers ask the students questions and students go and find the answers using their resources. Students then present their findings to the class as a podcast, movie, photo book, and more. This is great because students are learning how to use new and developing technologies every day. In the future, these students will need to learn how to use more technology and the skills they learn at Punahou will make learning on more complex computers easier.

One last aspect that Punahou has excelled in is allowing students to learn individually. When they learn on their own, students figure out what works and what does not through experience. Learning through experience is always more meaningful. It also helps students work things out on their own and without the help of others. This is a very important skill to have as an adult in the workforce. Yet as these students learn on their own, Punahou makes sure that students are not isolated through the use of too much technology. Many children today are becoming isolated from people through technology. Texting, emailing, and social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, are supposed to help with socializing. However, too many of today’s youth are isolated by restricting themselves to these innovative technologies. Punahou allows students to work collaboratively on projects and present these projects to their peers. This allows students to learn on their own, but still be able to talk to others about their work and give details about what they have accomplished.

Overall, Punahou School has done a fantastic job incorporating technology into education. Other schools that are in their initial stages of bringing technology to students can use Punahou as an excellent example.


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