Initiative 1: Innovative Learning
Create a diverse, engaged, innovative culture of learning and excellence that prepares students for where God calls them in their professional, community, social, personal and spiritual lives.
Valley Christian High School is striving to develop Christ-led innovators that have expertise as critical thinkers and problem solvers, and we believe we can foster a culture of innovative learning across the school’s entire curriculum. This will help prepare students for opportunities which may not currently exist and to do so through a distinctly Christian lens.
A culture of innovation moves away from the traditional teacher centered classroom toward an approach that more actively engages students in the learning process. In fact, we’ve already begun to implement innovative learning in a number of ways. Through iValley, our 1-to-1 technology program which puts an iPad in the hands of every student, we have seen increased levels of student engagement with both teachers and peers, plus the opportunity for additional collaboration. In 2016, we also launched two additional STEM classes (Introduction to Engineering, STEM Biology) and will continue to offer additional classes for students more interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Relationships between teachers and students are foundational to our learning experience, and this will not change. Our enhanced programs and additional offerings of innovative learning are just a few of the tools our faculty have in their educational toolbox. We believe this provides one more tool to help our students become problem solvers who are prepared for the future.
In addition to promoting innovative learning, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking, some longer term goals of this initiative support teacher professional growth, and pair students with industries that provide hands-on internships and real world problems to solve.
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Activities and Accomplishments
Our Innovative Learning initiative is intended to answer these two questions: How can the school increase achievement in the classroom by using available technology? How can teachers use new methods to increase student engagement and learning?
What does “innovative learning” look like in the classroom? It moves away from a traditional teacher-centered, one-way instructional approach toward one that more actively engages all students in the learning process and allows the teacher to guide student learning.
Through iValley, our 1-to-1 technology program which puts an iPad in the hands of every student, we have seen increased levels of student engagement with both teachers and peers, plus the opportunity for additional collaboration.
Examples of this can be seen across our campus:
- Social Studies class—instead of a teacher simply lecturing on a topic, the teacher is able to use a presentation app to lead students in a discussion while providing needed information for students to include in their notes on their iPads.
- Bible class—instead of simply reading about a Bible story, the students are able to find video clips of the geographic and cultural setting for where the Bible story took place.
- Language Arts class—students are able to work from their own iPads to create a common document together based on individual research and discussion as a small group.
- Science class—instead of just hearing about a topic, students are able to use their iPads to follow along as the teacher reveals things one part at a time, like parts of a molecule or the inner workings of the human body.
- Weight Lifting class—students are able to use a weight lifting program on their iPads to design individualized workouts specific to their personal goals or sports interests.
We have also launched three “STEM” classes in recent years (Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, and STEM Biology) and will continue to offer additional classes for students to challenge them in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Through all of this, however, we are always aware that the relationships between teachers and students are foundational to our students’ learning experience. This will not change. Our enhanced programs and additional offerings in innovative learning are just a few of the tools our faculty have in their educational toolbox. We believe the use of technology and innovative learning techniques provide more tools to be used as part of our students’ well-rounded education, helping them to answer the question, “What problem do you want to solve?”