Cajon Valley Union School District receiving national attention for technology use in classroom

Educators say students engaging with technology

EL CAJON, Calif. - A local school district is just one of four in the nation being looked at as a model for how it is using technology in the classroom.  

Educators from Cajon Valley Union School District were invited to a town hall event in Washington, D.C. to talk about what they are doing. 10News visited Cajon Valley Middle School on Wednesday to see firsthand what makes the district stand out.

Sixth grader Liliana Lomeli, for example, loves using her iPad. She was working on a class project to come up with alternative fuels. 

"We're working on how to run the cars other than with gas," she said.

Along with trying to solve the alternative fuels problem, Liliana showed how students at Cajon Valley Middle School use iPads, laptops and i-Touches to enhance their school work every day. 

"It's fun even without them but it's even more fun with them because you get to explore all these kinds of apps that help you learn more," said Liliana. 

It is that kind of engagement that educators say is leading to results. Since technology was fully implemented in 2008, the district has seen attendance jump by 42 percent. The Academic Performance Index or API score is up nearly 30 points.

"How I think we've set ourselves apart is we actually do a lot of creating and then a lot of sharing," said principal Don Hohimer.

He said getting children to collaborate by looking at each other's work and suggesting improvements helps prepare them for work in the adult world.

"The idea of being able to talk and share and refine each others' practice only builds a more successful student," said Hohimer. 

While pencil and paper are still important, kids naturally gravitate toward technology. The school is using technology in a lot of inventive says. For example, they let the kids use their mobile devices to put together a daily live streaming broadcast.

"Our whole school has to be wireless to be able to pull this off every day," said Hohimer.

These are just some of the reasons the district is being recognized as a national leader in digital learning. 

"While we may be recognized today, there's more to learn tomorrow," Hohimer said.

District educators talked about Cajon Valley's successes on Wednesday in Washington as about 4 million students and 20,000 teachers nationwide looked on via the Internet.

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