kids with computersVisualize the traditional classroom: shelves of books, lined three-hole notebook paper covered in graphite handwriting, photos and student work posted on the wall, a list of the day’s assignments and upcoming deadlines handwritten on the board, a stack of flyers headed home to parents waiting on a corner of the teacher’s desk.

Now visualize your workplace.  Better yet, imagine your workplace in 10 years.  Do you see any similarities?

Preparing students for the technology-driven, 21st-century workplace means more than mastering internet searches and word processing.  With the online tool Edmodo, students at A+UP learn to operate in a world where such basic functions as communication, creation and review of work, and tracking events and deadlines occur largely on computer screens.

students laptops_optThe mostly online curriculum also enables students to progress through work at their own pace, developing the self-direction and self-motivation that will be critical as they move on to college and careers.

Drawing upon her background in education technology research, Technology Coach Aditi Rao introduced Learning Coaches Cicely Benoit and Jen Mascheck to the system over the summer and supported the development of A+UP’s unique and rigorous curriculum as Edmodo classes. The current slate of Edmodo online courses for A+UP includes Literacy Lounge, Global Studies, Problem Solvers, Science, Technology Applications, World Languages, Character Development and Wellness.

Students also have the chance to pursue their individual interests, with coaches working around the clock to create personalized learning opportunities. One sixth grader is pursuing an independent study in Graphic Design, while two others work to become Cyber Coders.

Benefits for parents include instant access to student progress and simple communication with teachers.

For this uniquely mobile school, perhaps the platform’s biggest plus is its ability to lighten the paper load.  Though students meets live and in person five days a week, just like a traditional class, the paperless classroom helps students travel light and stay organized on their daily traverses around the museum district.

Lost permission slips, broken pencils and wadded-up homework languishing at the bottom of the backpack? If A+UP’s paperless classroom is a success, these school day mainstays will be a thing of the past.

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