Teachers at the ACT Academy, in McKinney, Texas, are using technology to transform the way they teach, develop curriculum and assessment, and communicate with students and other educators. Founded in 1993 as a "school of the future," the suburban K-12 school of 250 students is run entirely by its teachers, staff, and family members.
"One of the hardest things to do was to let go of some of the old paradigms and change our role as teachers," says teacher Nana Hill. "We literally had mock funerals for things like ditto sheets and forty-five-minute schedules."
The ACT Academy serves as a laboratory for the district, hosting visitors interested in learning more about educational technology and teacher-designed curriculum. Its teachers make extensive use of electronic networks, including the Texas Education Network (TENET) and the Internet, to locate resources for student projects, download lesson plans, and communicate with other educators around the country.
Each teacher has a portable networked computer, and there are phones in every classroom -- a practice still unheard of in most schools.