Education Nation: Teaching technology, service to teens

5:12 PM, Apr 17, 2012   |    comments
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"We want every kid to go beyond themselves," said Brent Glossinger, director of discipleship at the Front Range Christian School.

Front Range is a private K-12 school located in Littleton. This year, teachers instilled the new part of their program by starting an iPad initiative to place one of the devices into to the hands of every student.

"It was a little bit lifeless prior to the iPad initiative," said Gayle Kakac, video production teacher who also directs the iPad program. "We really didn't have a lot of technology."

Kakac says Front Range wanted to show people that religious, private schools can be cutting edge despite the perceptions of some.

"I think there is a legitimate stereotype that a Christian school is not well funded and does have the technology it needs," said Kakac.

But now, students use iPads in every subject, nearly every day. Kakac says it's preparing students to be successful in the 21st Century.

"The iPad is teaching them how to do research," said Kakac. "It's teaching them how to use critical thinking and using technology to analyze."

Stephen Pond is a junior at Front Range Christian. He says the iPad are making a big difference in class.

"It keeps students interested," said Pond. "I think students can get bored doing worksheets and reading textbooks."

Instead, Kakac has students creating their e-books for the iPad. She wants them to make science e-books that would appeal to students in the younger grades.

"Technology moves so quickly," said Stephen. "It will be the norm for them."

If the iPad initiative is the new, then teaching the value of community service is the old.

"We have everything. We have all the core classes," said Stephen. "But, we also include classes and opportunities that help us grow in our faith and grow as people."

Every month, students like Stephen have "Go Wednesday." That is when they leave school midday to go out into the community to help in some way.

"We can change the world. We can be different," said Stephen.

Stephen and a group of about 10 students travel to West Denver. They pair up with an organization called Extreme Community Makeover to clean up graffiti and trash in an alleyway that used every day by local kids to walk to an elementary school.

"It's a whole element of learning outside the classroom which I think is very valuable," said Angela Bomgaars with Extreme Community Makeover. "It teaches them ways where they can be involved."

Kelsey Lane is a junior. She is helping clean out the walkway. She says the community service is a key part of building character.

"Our school tries to teach us to care for others," said Kelsey. "That's what we're trying to show here by taking care of this alley."

Glossinger says for his students education is more than what's being taught in the classrooms. It has to be about the new and the old.

"It's important to have those foundations now to say life isn't necessarily about you," said Glossinger. "If we can plant those seeds now, I think that's gonna help them become better citizens down the road."

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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