Public-private partnership transforms school bus into mobile learning lab

Through Edmodo, a free social teaching and learning network for schools, we can easily see what needs to be re-taught, or how homework assignments need to be realigned based on the day’s progress and challenges. For the students who are sailing through new material, it provides a platform to enrich their discussions with one another, which is sometimes logistically difficult to orchestrate in a classroom where students’ skill sets and capabilities vary.

As for Carl Harper, who’s headed to George Mason University this fall to study chemistry, he strongly believes the Mobile Learning Lab was instrumental in helping him achieve his goal of going to college. We’ve had a significant percentage of our senior class come to the Mobile Learning Lab this year, and at least 29 of our students who have worked on personal statements with the tutors have used those essays and applications to achieve acceptance at four-year colleges and universities—a very exciting transformation for us. A number of other students received scholarships and admission to two-year programs.

Partnering with Verizon Wireless not only brings today’s technology to our students. It brings student enthusiasm to a new level and shows the clear benefits of what can be achieved through strong public and private collaboration. Data show that increasing student engagement with mobile learning devices brings improved academic achievement and enhanced goal setting. But, just as important is seeing students’ excitement about learning first-hand, and hearing them exclaim in the hallway that “the Magic Bus is here today!”

When school starts back up in the fall, our juniors and seniors will get on board the Verizon Wireless Mobile Learning Lab bus to begin the application process anew. I hope to work with our students who have been participating in the Mobile Learning Lab over the summer, continuing to cultivate inspired and digitally literate learners.

Thelma Jarrett is the principal of Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C.

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