Education is the focus at high-tech high
In this story:
January 20, 1997
Web posted at: 11:55 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Greg Lefevre
NAPA, California (CNN) -- One of the most technologically
advanced high schools in the nation looks like
one big computer class.
It's not. Computers are not the focus here. Education is.
"We want a high school that would teach the regular
subjects," says Robert Nolan, a school district consultant,
"but we want to use technology as the tool."
The problem was how to get computers in the classroom of New
Technology High School here without having the computers take
The Napa school district designed the courses first, then
called in teachers like Deborah Aufdenspring, experts on
using newfangled means to teach the standard courses.
Says Aufdenspring, a teacher of American literature and
American history, "Teaching is teaching. For me, having
access to the technology is a bonus."
There are other bonuses, too: happy kids and happy parents.
"I love it," says Michael Bates, a junior at the school. "I
love it here."
"It really kind of propels him forward," says Michael's
father, David. "He's more into school."
The literature classroom looks much the same as the
multimedia classroom. And, as Mark Morrison, director of the
school says, "They take a math class. They take a multi-media
design class. They take a computer applications class. They
take a history class that is also an English class."
They also take a college course off-campus, and the library
is on the Internet. The textbooks are mostly on CD-ROMs, and
tests are online.
"Students can e-mail me their assignments," says
Aufdenspring. "I can grade them on the computer and e-mail
them back to them."
Napa is not a wealthy district. Nearly all of the money to
build the school came from donations and private industry.
"The first two months into the project, we didn't even talk
about products," says Mark Riller of Hewlett-Packard. "We
wanted to know what they were trying to achieve."
"It's preparing then so that when they get out of school,
they're kind of on top of the pile instead of just shuffled
around in the middle somewhere," says David Bates, Michael's
"If I already know the material the teachers give me
options," says Devina Whitley, another student. "It lets you
make a lot of your own choices."
Her father, Robert, is impressed that his daughter can work
in Apple or PC format. "It's a new experience for me," says
Devina, "and for my parents. They're learning right along
with me, too."
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