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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Going High Tech: Everyone Can Learn

At this charter school, fiber optics -- and outstanding students -- made all the difference.
By Edutopia
Edutopia Team
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Credit: Max Seabaugh

At Clear View Charter School, located close to California's southern border, approximately 60 percent of the 550 students in grades K-6 are new English learners, and most come from low-income families. These are not the kind of demographics one would normally expect to find at a model school, yet Clear View and its principal have been recognized with numerous awards, and it is a model for its business partners IBM and Cox Communications.

Cox provided fiber optic links that connect students to the rest of the world, enabling them to engage in rich learning experiences designed by their teachers. Computers are integrated in the curriculum at every grade level from kindergarten, where students generate computer art to illustrate their stories, to sixth grade, where students access the information superhighway and create multimedia projects in multiple languages.

In one project, fifth and sixth graders were linked through live video to scientists and medical students at San Diego State University, who helped with an investigation of insects by transmitting images from an electron microscope.

At Clear View, educators do everything they can to support continued learning, including working with parents and keeping the building open in the evenings so families and students can use its resources.

"For many years," says Principal Ginger Hovenic, "I heard, 'You can't teach those kids. They can't learn.' But we can teach them and they can learn. We just have to maintain high expectations and provide an environment that supports learning."

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