Story Chapter 1
On campus, it began quietly with the start of the 2010-11 school year, as sixteen high school classrooms were furnished with class sets of iPads for exploration. The target date of the 1:1 launch for the high school was announced for August 2011. Our high school teachers began to prepare for the launch date by getting their resources in a digital format, under the direction of our iPad Integration Coordinator, Thomas White. But there was understandable anxiety: some teachers had never even touched an iPad. The anxiety was diminished with a successful, Apple-led, beginner training, while a few new anxieties were created in the advanced training-this technology was creating questions that we needed time to explore.The middle school 1:1 launch was announced for August 2012, a year after the high school; however, the always-engaged middle school teachers wanted to be a part of the buzz. Two middle school teachers volunteered to act as test classes right away, bringing the total to 18 classes, and putting the middle school ahead of schedule. Around the same time, a class set was given to the Modern Languages department to use in place of the language lab. As the buzz grew, the number of staff requests for iPads began to snowball, and Mr. Sharp was happy to comply, as staff and students began to adopt the vision of a digital school accessed through iPads.Just before Christmas 2010, the parents of 68 students who were enrolled in Mr. Josh Davis' high school History classes were invited to come and pick up an iPad to take home. These 68 students would act as a test case for the 1:1 launch in which students would carry the same iPad for the year, taking it home in the evenings, and returning it at year's end. Meanwhile, those staff not teaching in iPad classes were loaned iPads to experiment with over the holiday, and for the rest of the second semester.Concurrently, Dave Johnson, the school's Dean of Advancement and Marketing, began an aggressive campaign highlighting Monte Vista's iPad adoption through television commercials, brochures, and other media. Meanwhile, Mr. Sharp was not bashful in telling his contacts around the country about the exciting iPad program. This resulted in something unexpected: attention from other educators-lots of attention! Since September, Monte Vista has hosted numerous visitors from California, Washington, and Florida, and from countries such as Canada, Japan, and China, displaying our program to all who are interested.Our philosophy is to share what we have learned, to build relationships with other schools and to form a learning environment where all can benefit from this new technology. Therefore, not only has Monte Vista hosted many interested visitors, but by invitation, we have also sent Mr. White to make presentations to other interested groups around the world. Mr. Sharp taught an overflowing seminar during October's ACSI convention in Sacramento; Mr. White presented to a full room at the January FOCUS SIS conference in Sarasota, FL. Several more trips are already planned for the months of February and March, as well as a continuing stream of visitors coming to Monte Vista's campus to see the project at work.As fruit of the Headmaster's open philosophy, Monte Vista has established strong relationships with Los Gatos Christian School, Vacaville Christian School, and The Master's Academy in Oviedo, FL, in which each school has committed to working with us on how to best implement iPad technology in the classroom. Mr. White was a special guest speaker at an educational technology conference in March 2011 at the ECGY Center, in Shanghai, China.What does this mean for Monte Vista? Sometimes it means having curious faces poke their heads into classrooms. It means having tables in the cafeteria filled with visitors. It means trying to figure out how to adopt a technology that's so new, no one has all of the answers, not even the product's creators.Our staff and students are being challenged in ways they have never been challenged before. And by the grace of God, they have taken on the challenge with courage and enthusiasm. We're hoping that the end result will open a new era of education that can someday claim its birthplace as Monte Vista Christian School, flourishing in the foothills of the rural farming community of Watsonville, California.
Check in on our story as it progresses. Or better yet, come see for yourself what's happening here in this great adventure!