In June 2015, AEF completed a three-year Technology Initiative fundraising program that accelerated the use of technology in the Arlington Public Schools. In the final year of the effort, AEF raised $106,000 to fund the following programs.
High School Mobile Science Workstations for Data and Simulation
As technology revolutionizes science, the importance of exposing students to these tools and techniques increases. In 2015, the AEF Technology Initiative funded the following equipment to support the science curriculum:
- Mobile workstation cart with 30 MacBook pros
- Additional Vernier probes
- Licenses for digital materials to be used with MacBooks
- Projector for cart
Today, teachers need more powerful computers to implement curriculum enhancements such as software for 3D modeling of chemicals, either for chemistry or biology, or using simulation software to model and study iterations of experiments. The AEF-funded mobile workstations will be brought into the science labs so students can get experience using scientific tools, such as the Molecular Workbench, by Concord Consortium for modeling and simulations.
Arlington News Network profile of the Concord Consortium’s program at AHS.
In addition, the High School science department uses Vernier probes which allow students to collect data on motion, salinity, temperature, pressure, heart rate, etc. These interfaces, chargers and a variety of probes are currently used by the anatomy and physiology and physics students, but there are numerous benefits of these probes. For example, they are now being used for applications such as the design process of energy efficient homes in addition to more standard applications in biology and chemistry. This mobile lab will meld technology and science, showing students real-life applications of computer science.
Also read: “The Role of Simulation in Science & Engineering Education“, which highlights the importance of simulations in High School science.
Middle School Engineering and Computer Science Labs
Check out this Ottoson News Network profile with an inside look at STEM at Ottoson.
In 2014, with the help of AEF, the Ottoson Middle School saw a dramatic infusion of technology into the curriculum with the introduction of a full year of computer science and computational thinking in the 6th grade and technology and engineering in the “Tech” classes in all three grades.
As the Arlington Public Schools increased the number of teachers and the number of courses in technology, there was a critical need for more equipment so students can work in smaller groups and have more hands on experience in the classrooms.
The AEF Technology Initiative funded the following equipment in 2015:
- High end workstation to support additional teacher
- Student iPad cart with 30 iPads for engineering design
- Additional 3-D printer and year’s worth of material cartridges to support 3D printing and standards based learning
probes, motion sensors, and other equipment for labs
apps and software licenses
Digital Arts Imaging Studio: Taking STEM to STEAM!
The High School Visual Arts Department has created additional visual art curriculum and visual art courses that are dedicated specifically to creative digital imaging. Digital artwork is central to 21st Century contemporary art and is increasingly a vital component of a forward looking STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) curriculum.
In 2015, the AEF Technology Initiative established a Digital Arts Studio at the Arlington High School by funding the following equipment:
- Eight extremely high end stations for digital photography
- Two high end printers
- Site license Adobe Creative Suite
- Workstation equipment
In 2014, AEF funded the equipment for a pilot program, in which still photography, film, and animation had captured the imagination of dozens of students in these art forms. Now the Digital Arts Studio will be accessible to hundreds more students. In addition to enhancing the Arts curriculum, the new digital studio is a state-of-the-art resource for many departments within the High School. The studio is available to any teacher or class within the building when Art courses are not being taught there.