LA PUENTE, CA – Bassett Unified School District is outfitting all of its classrooms with innovative technology aimed at increasing student achievement by enhancing lessons with 80-inch interactive flat screen televisions and amplifying teacher and student voices with surround sound audio equipment.
The technology will be installed in all classrooms by the end of summer 2016, part of an initiative launched by Superintendent Dr. Alex Rojas in 2014. The effort is funded by the $30 million Measure V facilities bond passed by voters in 2014.
Rooms will also be modernized from the ground up and be equipped with flexible modular student desks and chairs that will increase collaboration.
“Thanks to the voters who approved the 2014 Measure V bond, all Bassett Unified students will experience a state-of-the art learning environment throughout their education at all of our schools,” Rojas said. “Technology can be used to create quality learning environments where our students can perform better and our teachers can be more innovative in their lessons.”
Touch screen displays enhance lessons by increasing interaction with videos, images and presentations. Teachers and students can cast their individual device screens wirelessly on the 80-inch screens.
Audio enhancement systems evenly distribute sound in each classroom. Two wireless microphones are provided – one for the teacher and one for the student speaking. Sound will be heard at the same volume throughout the classroom to ensure that students can clearly hear each other and the teacher, regardless of where they are seated.
“This will boost our students’ confidence in the classroom and increase participation in lessons and discussions,” Rojas said. “They will know that they are truly being heard.”
Last year, 84 classrooms were modernized with audio enhancement systems and interactive whiteboards at Bassett High School, Edgewood Academy and Torch Middle School. This year, the District will install the same equipment in the remaining 84 classrooms at Don Julian, Sunkist and Van Wig elementary schools.
Improvements to the District’s wireless technology are planned for 2017 as the last piece of technology upgrades.
In addition to the surround sound equipment and interactive boards, shared classroom sets of iPads and laptops have been made available since 2014. Students have used programs such as iMovie, Adobe Spark, and Prezi to demonstrate their learning.
Teachers and staff take District professional development workshops on technology integration in the classroom. The District has a team of specialists who mentor a cohort of “Teacher Innovators” in Bassett’s newly renovated Bassett Innovation Center, which serves as a space for District professional development, as well as a laboratory for ongoing instructional innovation.
Teacher specialists create video tutorials, podcasts and lead Tech Tuesday workshops to update teachers on new computer applications and programs to integrate into their curriculum to boost student learning in the classroom. Microsoft Office 365 accounts will be available to students in the coming school year, providing online production and collaboration tools.
“The workshops prepare teachers to move with the technology, and equips them with new teaching methods that they can’t do with paper and pencil,” Bassett technology integration specialist Michael Jephcott said. “The technology will change the way students are learning, and provide them with more ways to demonstrate that learning.”
BASSETT_TECH1: A Don Julian student uses a wireless microphone to amplify his voice, which is projected at an even volume throughout the class to be heard clearly by his peers and teacher.
BASSETT_TECH2: A Torch Middle School teacher uses an 80-inch interactive whiteboard to display PowerPoint presentations. Teachers are able to swipe to the next slide and write notes on the screen by touching the screen.
BASSETT_TECH3: Bassett High School students collaborate on a group project. Flexible, modular student desks and chairs increase interaction in the classroom.