CCSSO and iNACOL Featured SIATech in a Case Study

SIATech_logo_profileSIATech: Connecting Students through Innovative Curriculum

“We serve a 100% dropout population. We started out to create a learning environment that was different than what was not working. We knew we needed a flexible environment that could help students self-advocate and utilize resources when the teacher was not available.”

-Dave Meyer, Executive Director of Instructional Technology and Learning Support, SIATech

 

Challenge

SIATech is designed to “re-engage disconnected students through an innovative curriculum that integrates technology with academics and provides the opportunity to earn a high school diploma.” Meyer says that certain challenges are inherent in the school’s teaching philosophy.

“We serve a 100% dropout population,” Meyer explains. “We started out to create a learning environment that was different than what was not working. We knew we needed a flexible environment that could help students self-advocate and utilize resources when the teacher was not available.”

According to Meyer, many SIATech students experience barriers to completing a high school degree program due to factors beyond their control.

“A lot of our students, their time frame to try to get their education in is relatively short because of all sorts of situations in their lives,” says Meyer. “We don’t call them at-risk. They are at-promise. But, things can cut their learning short; maybe they have to take care of life issues, so they need a flexible schedule.”

 

Solution
The OER used by SIATech is part of a blended approach that includes classroom-based instruction and complements the school’s competency-based model. This model gives students the ability to accelerate their own learning, Meyer says. He utilizes OER as an important element to help achieve these instructional goals and has done so since the school’s first days when his team was looking to create their own content.

“We wanted to help [our students] become independent learners,” Meyers explains. “We started out developing our own resources to find things that were affordable or free, in the case of OER materials. Over the years, we have found both, and made effective use of both OER and items we have created, and subsequently made available in the OER realm.”

Meyer looks for the most effective and engaging resources that students can relate to their individual learning needs. These resources are used to give students immediate feedback. But he doesn’t just look for OER; he contributes it as well. Today, some of SIATech’s self-created learning objects can be found on hippocampus.org (screen shot below), a free academic web site that delivers multimedia content for middle and high-school subjects.

 

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching materials licensed for free use and repurposing. This case study is a part of a research study conducted by CCSSO and iNACOL. The purpose of the study is to explore the current status of development and dissemination of OER in K-12 education at the state, district, and classroom levels. For more case studies and resources, visit http://www.ccsso.org/oer.

 

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