Summer School in Austin

Patricia Hawke

In the Austin Independent School District, the summer school programs are a little different than most other summer schools. We all know that students that have to go to summer school are a little less than pleased. Summer is designed for kids to take a break from their monotonous school life and be able to develop socially with friends and take a much-needed break. Kids that have to go to summer school either have to because they didn’t get good enough grades in a particular course and do not want to make it up during the next school year or its for kids looking to get ahead and take extra classes. Whatever the reason is, students never look at summer school as something that is fun.
 
Things are changing in Austin, Texas with the perception of summer school. Kids are hearing what changes they are making to the summer school curriculum and they are curious. Video games? How can video games be educational? They developed a program that enriches their summer math program and makes it fun for the students either required to take the class or want to get extra credits towards the next school year. These game-based learning tools reinforce math concepts and help kids to get a better understanding of the math lessons by playing instructional video games. As math is one of the more “get it or you don’t get it” type of subject, this instructional learning tool based in a video game format, will help kids who do not like the subject actually want to learn.
 
What’s great is because of the number of summer school “failed” classes; it was much needed to make a change in the summer school math curriculum to better the children’s chances of passing the classes. We all know summer is not the best time to learn; the high heat (depending on your region), the abundance of fun activities that your friends are all doing, the ability to relax and be a kid and not have to worry about anything makes it extremely hard to focus in summer school. This was apparent and teachers needed for a change to be made in their lesson plans.
 
To keep the students minds from wandering, its important for schools to develop learning programs designed for children of the 21st Century. With the constant stream of Internet, social media, TV and cell phones, students now a day require more technology during school to keep their attention. We know that students shouldn’t run the class, but we have to be mindful that the student’s brains are developing different than they used to.
 
By incorporating video games into summer schools lesson plans, this is creating a whole new world for the teachers that teach during the summer. They are realizing kids are paying much more attention and are excited to be involved in the classwork. They are showing much improvement in their grades as well since the video games are helping them understand much better. Bottom line is, kids are learning different than they use to and its important for teachers and schools to recognize this and design lesson plans around technology to help their students to better on tests. In turn, the schools will get better school ratings and the school, the parents and the students all will be happier.
 
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. Patricia has a nose for research and writes stimulating news and views on school issues. For more information on Dallas schools visit Austin Private School Ratings and Public School Rankings