Bringing new and innovative methods of learning into the classroom is a key fundamental at New Life Academy. With the technological advances of the 21st century, students of all ages are tech savvy now, and this is unlocking new ways to immerse students in learning at school.
Engaging students in the classroom is exactly what New Life Academy is doing this year by implementing the “Bring Your Own Device” program, or “BYOD.” This program allows high school students to bring their own digital device to class with them in order to further their learning.
These devices were registered this summer to connect to the school’s BYOD wireless network, said Becky Wallerick, Academic Dean at NLA.
The goal is to teach students to navigate the digital world in a safe, legal, responsible, and respectful manner, said Wallerick.
“As I walk through the school each day, I see teachers using technology to enhance their students’ learning,” Wallerick said.
Teachers can project from their instructional tools wirelessly from any place in the classroom, giving them the ability to walk around the room while they are talking—which also helps them keep an eye on what the students are doing on their devices.
“Students are able to freely take notes in the way that suits them best,” said Laura Allen, history teacher.
As an example of the technology being used in classrooms, Bible teacher Becky Welander uses a program called “Socrative,” which uses a real-time question and answer system so that teachers can assess the class’ understanding instantly. The students in the class love it, and it helps them better engage in learning.
“It is very helpful to keep all of my things in one place and bring my computer home to continue my work,” said Emily Nuehring, a senior at the Academy.
Implementing this program makes learning interactive. The classroom will no longer be a place where students sit and listen to teachers talking at them.
“We have already seen a huge increase in student engagement,” Wallerick said.
The BYOD program helps facilitate creativity and innovation, increase communication and collaboration, and extend research and problem-solving strategies.
“I think this program allows both students and teachers to explore more technology in the classroom. Not that technology will ever totally replace the teacher, but it is a powerful tool that helps engage learners,” Allen said.
With the interactive nature of the classroom, teachers are able to closely monitor what students are working on at all times and help them avoid distractions. Since technology is a huge part of today’s world, it is important to educate students on how to use this technology and how to use it to help them learn.
“We at NLA want to do everything that we can to ensure that our Christian kids grow into strong Christian leaders who have the spiritual, academic, social and technological skills for success in their world,” Wallerick said.