Oregon is heading for the cloud.
On Wednesday, the Oregon Department of Education began offering Google Docs to every school district in the state, introducing the power of cloud-based computing to boost collaborative, interactive learning. With school funding taking a big hit in the recession, this move will save Oregon more than $1.5 million a year. Not to mention the huge gains the students will make now that technology is catching up to them.
Today, the entire public school system of Oregon will embrace Google Apps. 400,000 Students, teachers, and administrators will have access to a common e-mail and chat system, cloud-based collaboration tools, and a robust multimedia streaming service…
Principal Jason Levy, who helped usher in Google Apps for New York’s Intermediate School 339 (see the PBS documentary below) finds that 47% of students now perform at grade level for math, up from 27%. Additionally, both Thiele and Levy observe greater focus and fewer disciplinary problems. “Behavior has improved, attendance is higher, and suspension levels have fallen,” reports Levy.
It’s not hard to understand why. “People talk a lot about kids — that they can’t focus and sustain their concentration. Well, neither can I,” admits Levy. Embracing children’s need to be social, combined with their rapid adoption of technology, is an organic way to work with the grain of human curiosity.