Through our work with the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS), we’re impacting the lives of students in diverse communities all across the United States. Two of our VILS locations are on Maui, Hawaii, which has an extraordinarily rich culture and strong community traditions. Kalama Intermediate School is committed to celebrating and preserving Hawaiian history, culture, and the native language. It is one of a small number of schools in the state that offer a Hawaiian Language Immersion program. This year, Kalama’s immersion teacher Kiani Yasak has leveraged technology in her classroom to help students explore their culture in new ways.
“I’m really excited about using this to get our kids to have that voice and be more active citizens in our community.” –Kiani Yasak, Hawaiian Language Immersion Teacher
Students now have access to a multitude of new tools and resources, from an online Hawaiian dictionary to apps that allow them to create interactive projects to showcase their culture. With always available access, students’ families and the entire community can benefit from these tools and resources. Kiani’s students can use the same process at home to make a family photo album or create things for their community. The opportunities provided by always available access allow learning to continue and extend beyond the classroom.
The VILS initiative provides the tools and learning opportunities to help students become creative, innovative problem solvers. When students bring their tablets home, the whole family can benefit from these tools. We know this access helps close the digital learning gap and gives parents an opportunity to directly engage in their child’s education. Now, we’re learning more about how connectivity can impact an entire community and culture. Preserving language, customs, and other cultural traditions is critical to embracing and celebrating diversity. We’re excited about the opportunity to focus on this as we continue to build relationships with the communities that support each of our unique VILS locations.