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MICHAEL OCONNOR

9-12 | Science & Tech | Other

Station KHET in Hawaii

My Classroom Innovation

Searider Digital has dedicated itself to pushing the envelope on what students from Waianae High can learn and create. Through the optimal use of technology, students become familiar with a number of digital media disciplines like graphic design, 3D modeling and printing, animation, compositing, video production, and interactive content creation. This early exposure allows students to not only develop a wide base of technical knowledge, but also to develop useful life skills like versatility, accountability, outside the box thinking and self-discipline.

Probably the biggest game changer for this program within the last year and a half would be the integration of the iPad into the curriculum. The impact was immediately felt, Searider Digital staff and students were convinced that the iPad had unlimited potential, and an ongoing brainstorming session was put into play to figure out how to best utilize this new technology. Innovation was the buzzword that propelled the dialogue, and a wide range of possibilities were raised, including such widely flung ideas as QR code integration and interactive magazines. Eventually, these two suggestions were settled upon as having the strongest balance of potential and relevancy, and goals were posted.

As with any uncharted initiative that a program chooses to undertake, there are no set boundaries and precious little old knowledge to fall back upon. Searider Digital, however, attempts to instill in its students and staff a mindset that draws upon preparedness through research, a willingness to experiment with new approaches, equitable collaboration, and ultimately a dedication to craft and quality. With this in mind, the program tackled their iPad maximization projects with gusto. Through rigorous trial and error, students emerged weeks later with a fully developed interactive iPad magazine and with QR Codes set up around the classroom to aide in the Searider Digital facility tours.

How Students were Engaged

Since we constantly have visitors requesting to visit our classroom, we thought it would be a interesting to make our visitor tours interactive using an iPad and a QR Code. We quickly found out that the students became more outgoing took ownership of their learning. Also the quality of student work drastically improved because the students were eager to share work that they produced.

As a program that prides itself on innovation, the students constantly were looking for ways to improve the tours and enhance it. One idea came that came out of a brainstorming session was figuring out how people can learn about what we do without visiting our classroom. Creating a website was an easy answer but it didn’t have the “wow” factor. We had some interactive magazines on our iPads that were download from an app store and thought, “why can’t we do something like that?” We asked the local universities and colleges if they could help us but nobody knew how (This was before Apple introduced it’s iBook content creator application). Finally, one of the students found a tutorial online and figured out how to do it himself. The result was the Searider Digital Interactive Magazine. This magazine highlights all that we do in our Digital Media classes at Waianae High School.

PBS Program/Content Used

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