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San Diego County educators win recognition for effective technology innovations

A nagging question for teachers is how effective use of new technology is in improving student learning. What measures can gauge students’ mastery of subject material in the disparate circumstances of traditional educational processes versus applied classroom technology delivery of lessons?

Educators from the eastern San Diego County have begun addressing these issues. The Classroom of the Future Foundation, sponsored by utility firm San Diego Gas & Electric, honored Dr. Paula Cordeiro, a resident of Jamul, and the nearby Cajon Valley Middle School at the recent 11th Annual Innovation in Education Awards, before 450 attendees. The awards ceremonies were held at the University of San Diego, where Dr. Cordeiro is Dean at the School of Leadership and Education Sciences. She expressed delight over receiving the Visionary and Outstanding Leadership Award for her career-long contributions to education. Her textbook, Educational Leadership: A Bridge to Improved Practice, is now in its fifth edition. Cajon Valley Middle School received the Inspire Award, recognizing a program that enhances educational experiences and increases student interest in learning, for its Learning Through Production, Not Consumption program.

“Each year the Classroom of the Future Foundation recognizes classroom leaders and programs that inspire students to achieve through the development of innovative learning programs,” said Bruce Braciszewski, Ph.D., executive director, of the foundation. “This year’s honorees demonstrate a significant impact on learning in the region and are substantially improving student achievement.”

Dr. Cordeiro describes her mission as engaging with all 42 school districts in San Diego County to promote innovative technology programs, deploying mobile device usage and virtual technologies for fun. She says, “This is part of our vision” for training and experimentation. And basic research gauges the success of each program implemented. Her educational philosophy is that preparing teachers “has to be relevant to teachers and districts locally.” She further encourages involvement with local nonprofit and government agencies in that training of educators has to be an integral part of the “practice” of leadership in schools.

The Cajon Valley Middle School program is transforming student learning from paper-based exercises to the implementation of creative multimedia projects through provision of iPod learning to students. Since this initiative was launched in 2011, student achievement has notably improved, with the number of “A” grades received by students increasing 31 percent, while failing grades have decreased by 47 percent. The school received a $5,000 cash award from Qualcomm for the program.

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