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The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) initiative gives students an opportunity to take ownership of their own learning. These schools are using technology to enhance learning in exciting new ways. Classroom lessons are changing and becoming more innovative and personalized. Teachers are empowering students to think about what they want to learn and what interests them.

Beyond the classroom, students also have the opportunity to explore new possibilities and drive their own learning. When students start teaching other students — and even teachers — they become confident learners. In the VILS project, this happens every day, and it often starts with student tech teams.

Student tech teams play a huge role in these schools. Groups of students, often volunteering their free time outside of class, work closely with their school’s learning coach to become experts in using tablets and troubleshooting many common tech issues. As they learn more, the tech teams take on major leadership roles in their schools. In the video below, two students from PreEminent Charter School in Raleigh, N.C., share how they became involved in learning about technology and how they’ve been able to help fellow students and their teachers.

Brian talked about how he wanted to help take charge of the device rollout process at PreEminent. After he asked the learning coach if he could help, he took the initiative to learn about the tablets and technology on his own. Another student, Faith, shared her interest in helping people and how learning to assist with the tablets can make a big difference to others.

Learning and using the technology in their school helps build leadership skills in students. By becoming an expert and having the ability to teach others, these students build self-confidence and often find they enjoy helping others learn. Studies have shown that confidence helps boost academic performance. In one study, student confidence influenced performance by as much as 12 percent. It takes a confident learner to step into a leadership role and share knowledge.


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