In the rural town of Garrison, one school serves all 18 students in grades PreK-6. There are multiple grade levels in each classroom, and only three full-time staff members. Until very recently, the school had so little Internet that students had to travel 12 miles to another school just to take online standardized tests.
Now that Garrison has high-speed Internet, everything has changed, and the students are taking advantage of all kinds of digital learning opportunities in their classrooms. Garrison has become a 1:1 school; each student has a Chromebook and uses an online curriculum. One student was so happy when she saw her computer that she cried. She later used it to research and write a report on bunnies, her favorite animal. Another student used his laptop to do research and create his own website. “I made mine about sports and cats,” he said.
Garrison students learn to code on Code.org, do short lessons on BrainPOP, use free online resources though the Montana library system, get personalized instruction through Khan Academy, and enjoy something they call Genius Hour, where each student watches an online tutorial before creating a hands-on project. And they can take all their tests online at their own school. Next year they’re getting a robotics lab.