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11/13/2015

Maui Joins National Program to Bring Mobile Technology to Students, 24/7

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Mobile technology is changing the face of education for students and teachers alike. It promises a more meritocratic platform on which individual students can access the kind of help they need to improve, without sacrificing the development of their peers.

The latest mobile learning initiative comes from the country’s largest telecommunications provider. The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program was established in 2012 to help schools across the country provide 24/7 internet access and tablets to every student. So far, more than 30 schools and close to 16,000 students have benefitted, and two middle schools in Maui have just joined their ranks.

Two middle schools - Kalama Intermediate School and Lokelani Intermediate School - were selected to join the program which will, for at least the next two years, provide students with tablets and Verizon 4G LTE connectivity so they can learn at school, at home and everywhere in between.

Additionally, teachers at both schools will receive ongoing professional development to help them integrate mobile solutions into existing lesson plans and devise more individualized learning methods. Dedicated coaches will be provided by the program. Over the two years, the total value of equipment, training and service provision will run up to $3 million, according to the needs of the district and the number of participating students. 

Providing students with training in the technology so central to the modern economy is only part of the overall objective. As well as emphasizing science, technology, english and math (STEM) subjects, the VILS program aims to foster independent learning, encouraging students to collaborate and innovate using critical thinking and entrepreneurial skills. 

Beyond Maui (and the other school districts benefitting from the full compliment of services), teachers can access many VILS resources online for free. These resources include best practices and insights from teachers currently using the program in Maui and other participating schools across the United States.

Thus far, VILS has achieved significant results in classrooms. According to data collected by the program, 66% of teachers reported an increase in individualized instruction, and 37% of students gained higher scores on assignments. Compared with non-VILS schools, standardized test scores went up by 4.13%. 

Progressive educators will be keeping a close eye on developments in the Pacific to see if programs like VILS can help students across the lower 48 as much as it’s helping those in Maui.

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