Apple has posted a new feature story in their K-12 Education Imagine series which profiles a technology focus program in Lincoln, Nebraska. The program, one of several focus programs in Lincoln Public Schools, aims to provide students with experiences in technology not available in the traditional classroom. From Apple:
Lincoln launched the ITFP [the Information Technology Focus Program] in the winter semester of 2001. The programis aim: to augment the districtis existing high school technology curriculum with the most sophisticated hardware and software tools available, and to provide an environment in which students could experience creative freedom.
"We came to the realization that there were things our students were capable of doing that werenit being offered in our high schools," [Chuck] Friesen (Director of Instructional Technology) notes. "We didnit have enough high-end equipment, or qualified teachers, or enough students in any one high school to do these things. So, we looked for a centralized location where students from all four of our high schools could come to take more advanced computer classes."
Macs Power New Facility
Friesen worked closely with Dan Senstock, secondary school technology coordinator, and Steve Carr, network, web, and programming teacher with Lincoln Public Schools, to locate and outfit the ideal facility for the ITFP. A $300,000 Excellence in Education grant awarded by the Nebraska State Lottery helped fund the effort. Eventually, Friesen and Senstock oversaw the construction of a 1,425-square foot media production center and computer lab.
"We designed and built a full television studio with a control booth," Senstock says. "We put a computer lab in close proximity, so the kids can go to the studio for a shoot, work in the control booth, then go right into the Mac lab for online editing."
Students at ITFP have a wide variety of tools to work with, ranging from Dual-GHz G4 desktops to iBooks, Studio Displays to a Cinema Display, Photoshop to Final Cut Pro, and more. In addition to simply learning the hardware and software, students are also engaging in projects from around the community and in the production of a monthly television show about their school district. How do they think it is working?
"Weire continually amazed at what the kids are doing," Senstock smiles. "Every day they find someplace new to go, something that theyire excited about doing. I just have to shake my head . . . I sure wish I was back in high school again!"