Contributed by Ken McLemore
MAGNOLIA – Twelve students from the Hope Academy of Public Service took part in the second annual Southern Arkansas University Google Summit presented by the SAU Education Renewal Zone program that introduces opportunities for cutting-edge technology to local school campuses.
Dr. Roger Guevara, ERZ director, said the June 17-19 Google Summit summer program was a total immersion experience for the students.
“The students got to stay overnight in the dorms and enjoyed the complete college experience,” Dr. Guevara said in an SAU Magazine interview. “It was a very special experience.”
Dr. Abdel Bachri, dean of the SAU College of Science and Engineering, conducted campus engineering and science tours for the students, who also participated in tours of active laboratory operations on campus.
“They felt so welcome at SAU, and came away feeling so much support there,” HAPS Principal Dr. Carol Ann Duke said. “They got to explore on their own and many of them felt it was the place to be for their next step.”
HAPS students Sarahi Acostia, Alecia Bradley, Mika Brown, Amber Cisneros, Edith Dominguez, Priscila Moreno, Cody Clayton, Colin Easterling, Courtland Jackson, Juan Leon, Hunter Mathis, and Richard Ware were accompanied by Dr. Duke and HAPS Counselor Joan Crowder.
Google specialists Tyler Tarver and Tiffani Fugate presented workshops on Google-based technology for classroom use and social media education. The sessions were designed to emphasize a comfortable relationship with technology as a means to create better educational experiences for all students.
“Quality professional development does not happen by accident, it requires a tremendous amount of thought processing combined with resources to make an initiative successful,” Guevara said. “What is better for these teachers than to embed their skills in 21st Century learning?”
He said SAU was uniquely positioned to lead that change in Arkansas through innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) practices that engage students through activities such as the Google Summit.
“We provide the appropriate resources to let teachers and students expand their horizons with robust hands-on applications,” Guevara said.
He said SAU has committed to hosting another Google Summit in 2020 through the SAU College of Education, and Guevara invited students and parents to find out more at www.saumag.edu/education/ online.