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NewTech Provides Alternative Learning for El Dorado Students

Students use project based learning to solve real world problems.

EL DORADO, AR. - Students at one southern Arkansas high school are taking advantage of a new way to learn.

For the past two years, El Dorado High School has given their students an unconventional choice when it comes to learning. That alternative is called NewTech and its changing the way people look at education.

Students in this classroom didn't just read a Tuesdays with Morrie.  Instead, they're working in groups, using what they read create a charity based on those concepts. In another classroom, Mr. Henry is showing students where they can find fonts for t-shirt designs.  No, this is not intro to computers. It’s multimedia literacy, a NewTech class for 9th grade students at El Dorado. NewTech focuses on project based learning to solve real-world problems.

 “Its all very interconnected, its all very technology based and we're excited to be able to offer this to our students,” said Chip Greenwell, The Director of the NewTech Program.  He says that the “tech” in NewTech is very much at the heart of everything they do. “Every student get’s a laptop when they enter our program and are used throughout the year.  Teaching them skills that they need in order to be successful, both in high school and then in college or career fields, whichever they choose.”

Currently the program enrolls 220 9th and 10th graders who were selected in a blind lottery, without regards to background or previous academic progress.

Gabbrielle is a 10th grade student in NewTech. She says she choose it because the program suites her needs,  “I enjoy that we have computers, and that I enjoy that we get to interact and most of all I don’t have to take an oral communications class because it’s already included.”  She’s looking into becoming a speech pathologist.

Mr. Henry has taught traditional and NewTech classes, he tells us this format encourages independent learning.

“They don’t have to have me up in front of the class giving them all the knowledge,” said Henry. “They can go off and do projects and I can go around talk to them individually or as a group and find out exactly what their needs are.”

The program will host business leaders from the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce on October 23rd  .NewTech students will work with those leaders to help them solve problems of their own.

  

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