“We force our students to think harder to think about their futures,” said Liz Bryan, director of the New Technology Network, a 4-year program housed within Wayne High School on the south side of Fort Wayne.
‘New Tech @ Wayne’, as the program is called locally, began in 2009. Bryan explained the concept of New Tech @ Wayne. “We take technology and embed it into all of our classes,” she said.
One hundred freshmen have enrolled each year, including an equal number of males and females. Students who attend New Tech @ Wayne may live anywhere in Allen County.
As more students are recruited each year, Bryan expects to add teaching positions. Wayne High School averages 1,600 students in Grades 9-12.
While writing grants for Fort Wayne Community Schools, Bryan learned about the innovative program that began in other parts of the United States in 1996. She applied for the position of director and was thrilled to be hired for the job. “I knew it was something I wanted to be involved with,” she said.
Some classes at New Tech @ Wayne include world studies, environmental science, chemistry, algebra, physics, and biological literature.
For the last class, Bryan explained how a class may utilize technology to learn a lesson. “An English class could read the book Fast Food Nation, then research the book online, create videos to prove mastery of the subject matter, write blogs and create video conferencing and podcasts to communicate about it.” She adds that students may also use social networks, such as Twitter, to promote their knowledge.
Because of the emphasis on using computers, freshmen students receive computer applications credit. “They don’t have to attend a computer class because they achieve the standards with computers in other classes,” she said.
New Tech @ Wayne has been recognized by the national New Tech Network for its first-year success by being named a “demonstration site”. That means other communities interested in starting a New Tech school could model their program after New Tech @ Wayne’s program.
Bryan believes the advantages to students of enrolling at New Technology Network are multiple. “We engage students in community outreach that is the real world,” she said. “They get real life experiences by partnering with local businesses on building projects. This collaboration teaches them to find software programs that will support their learning.”
For more information about New Tech @ Wayne go to http://www.fwcs.k12.in.us/newtech/newtech.php.
Published in Ossian Sun Riser.