Please note that this is a sample Unit 4 Project to help inspire and guide your own original writing of the assignment. Be sure to review the assignment instructions and grading rubric, complete each task in the instructions, and contact the instructor with any questions.
THESIS STATEMENT: To improve academic performance and help SAISD students compete with peers in higher-rated districts when applying to college, every high school student should be provided with an electronic tablet; this will encourage more learning outside of the classroom and increase mastery of skills
Castro, J. (2012, September 4). Julian Castro DNC speech [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jx3m7jk1CY
Julian Castro, San Antonio’s 37 year-old mayor, made a keynote address at the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte, NC. He emphasized the importance of education in his own journey; he and his brother grew up with their mother and grandmother, an immigrant to the US who had only a fourth-grade education. America, he notes, is a place of opportunity, but we have to provide the resources for achieving the American dream, and education is the foundation for this upward mobility. He talks about some initiatives in San Antonio, like Pre-K for SA and Café College. Therefore, I think that this speech will help me to support the claim that this city is looking to find ways to give students, especially those in low-income areas, more educational opportunities.
Catalano, F. (2013, October 9). Tech happens: When tablets and schools don’t mix. GeekWire. Retrieved from http://www.geekwire.com/2013/tech-tablets-schools-mix/.
Catalano’s GeekWire column raises a number of challenges that I will need to consider as I develop my proposal to issue tablets to all students in the San Antonio Independent School District. He discusses a couple of high-profile failures of such initiatives in Los Angeles and North Carolina, one caused by students “hacking” into their tablets and accessing non-approved sites and the other caused by hardware malfunctions. He also makes a truly important point about the need to implement technology thoughtfully; schools cannot just throw devices at students and expect better academic performance (Catalano, 2013). I find this source credible because GeekWire is a respected source of technology information, Catalano is a regular contributor, and he has worked in the EdTech industry. The source will be valuable because it poses specific challenges I will need to address in my essay. The district must decide what tablets to use, what students can (and cannot) access on them, and how they will be integrated into courses. Otherwise, the district is just spending a lot of money to look like it is leaving no student behind in our tech-oriented society.
Elkholf, A. (2014, February 14). Interview.
Ashley Elkholf is the head librarian at San Antonio’s Bibliotech, the country’s first all-digital public library, so I believe she is a credible interview subject; she was also interviewed for Weber’s USA Today article. I asked her questions about the demographics for the library’s visitors, the challenges in maintaining the iPads and iMacs, and the benefits of providing tablets to area high school students. She noted that the library is frequently filled with local high school students who want access to library’s technology, both the desktops on-site and the tablets that can be checked. She further mentioned that no patron has failed to return an iPad that he or she checked out of the library, which helps to support my claim that students would be responsible for the tablets the school loans them. Based on the interest area students have shown in the library, she believed that they would benefit immensely if local schools provided the tablets to all students (A. Elkholf, personal communication,