Archive for the Category ◊ EDUCATION ◊

Author: RWHill
• Monday, August 08th, 2011

Over 200 students to receive iPads at Dallas Christian

DCS ChargerTech initiative enters Phase II

iPads have already revolutionized the way we use computers.  Now they’re changing the way we teach and learn.

Every teacher at Dallas Christian School in Mesquite received an iPad in December as part of ChargerTech, a school-wide initiative to incorporate tablet computers into the classroom environment.  This week, DCS launches Phase II.

On Monday, August 8, at 7 p.m., every high school student at Dallas Christian School in Mesquite – more than 200 young people in all – will be given their own iPad2. Beginning on the first day of school, those students will weave use of the tablet device into their classroom, home-based and on-the-go learning experiences.

“This initiative will help our students prepare to live and work in a digital world,” says Dr. Colleen Netterville, president of Dallas Christian.  “We are diving into an area that will take our entire school fully into the 21st century.  The world is changing before our eyes, and we have to change with it.”

The initial distribution of 60 iPads to teachers was made possible by a gift from Texas entrepreneur and DCS alumnus Randy Hill (Class of ’86).  He has joined in helping DCS parents, friends, and alumni fund the purchase of the student units as well.

Hill believes Apple’s iPad and devices like it have the potential to revolutionize how teachers teach as well as how their students access their course work, notes and raw data from the Internet.

“We can’t keep giving our kids the kind of instruction I received in the 80’s, let alone giving it to them essentially in the way it was delivered in the 1880’s,” says Hill.  “I’m thrilled to be able to help DCS accomplish its goal of becoming a more innovative institution – a school that will get these students ready for the jobs they will want in the future, many of which don’t even exist right now.”

“From the very start, Randy has been the guiding force behind this initiative,” says Steve Bivins, vice president of Dallas Christian.  “We anticipate our entire campus will be utterly transformed by Randy’s gift.”

For the past eight months, teachers at DCS have been working with experts from Abilene Christian University, a recognized leader in the area of Mobile Learning, to prepare for complete integration of the iPad devices into the education process.

“Students at ACU are successfully using mobile learning as a part of their critical thinking and problem solving skill set,” says Dr. Billie McConnell, director of ACU’s K-12 Digital Learning Institute.  “It will be a true advantage for students in a high school setting to have this experience in and out of the classroom at such a pivotal age.”

Throughout the 2011-12 school year, DCS teachers and administrators will track how integration of iPads effects the classroom learning environment.  “It will be important for us to quantify our findings so we can build on the success of ChargerTech and, in so doing, better serve our students,” says Dr. Netterville.

Author: RWHill
• Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Today we continue our conversation about the power of iPads in the classroom. Since we began our project in December, more and more schools have caught on. Even the New York Times has noticed:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/05/education/05tablets.html

This article profiles some of the schools that are using iPads around the country. It notes:

“The iPads cost $750 apiece, and they are to be used in class and at home during the school year to replace textbooks, allow students to correspond with teachers and turn in papers and homework assignments, and preserve a record of student work in digital portfolios.’It allows us to extend the classroom beyond these four walls,’ said Larry Reiff, an English teacher at Roslyn who now posts all his course materials online.”

Exactly. The iPad means that the education process never stops. And that’s why we need more of them in our schools.

Author: RWHill
• Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Since our announcement last month at Dallas Christian School and our announcement this week at Abilene Christian School, people have asked about how the iPad might work in the classroom. Take a look at this link:

http://teacher.ocps.net/groups/ipodsintheclassroom/

This website lists the various apps that are available and describes what all they can do. Want to help kids learn basic math? There is an app for it. Want help building lesson plans for elementary school social studies? There is an app for that, too. Want to teach languages? There is an app for that as well.

The iPad is literally a library of endless resources all right in front of the child on a computer screen. That’s why we’ve made this investment and that’s why we can’t wait to see the dividends in the future as our kids emerge better educated and better prepared for the workplace of tomorrow.

Author: RWHill
• Monday, January 24th, 2011

Abilene Christian Schools Launch Connect@ACS initiative
School to give iPads to 40 teachers and, by Fall 2011, to all high school students

It’s the start of a new era at Abilene Christian Schools. As part of the school’s Connect@ACS initiative, 40 Apple iPads will soon be in the hands of all staff on the ACS campus. In a ceremony this morning, the devices were distributed and faculty will begin collaborating and training with experts from Abilene Christian University to craft lesson plans that will incorporate use of the units in the classroom.

“This initiative will prepare our students for the intersection of learning while giving them tools to use that will equip them for the future,” says Craig Fisher, president of Abilene Christian Schools. “We are diving into an area that will take our students and our faculty – our entire school – fully into the 21st century, and we’re ready to make use of the most cutting-edge tools the market has to offer.”

The iPads are a gift from entrepreneur and long-time ACS supporter Randy Hill. Hill, who is also the father of an ACS student, believes Apple’s tablet device has the potential to revolutionize how teachers teach as well as how their students access their course work, notes and raw data from the Internet. Hill previously funded a similar project, ChargerTech, at Dallas Christian School.

“We can’t keep teaching kids the way I was taught and the way many adults learned their reading, writing and arithmetic, let alone giving them that instruction in the way it was delivered a century ago,” says Hill, who has just been named by Gov. Rick Perry to serve on the board of the state’s Emerging Technology Fund. “I’m thrilled to help ACS accomplish its goal of becoming a more innovative institution that can get these students ready for the jobs of the future – many of which don’t even exist right now. And I’m thrilled to do with Apple, which is a company that is always using new technology to solve old challenges.”

Plans call for all of Abilene Christian High School students to receive their own iPads in August 2011, at the start of the school year. iPad carts will be available across campus for use by students in PK-middle school as well.

Abilene Christian Schools’ partnership with ACU will give faculty access to the latest research and training in the ever-expanding world of mobile learning technology.

“We look forward to supporting the Connect@ACS initiative,” says Dr. Billie McConnell, director of ACU’s K-12 Digital Learning Institute. “Schools need to be developing their students’ critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills. Making use of the latest digital tools is one of the most important ways they can accomplish their mission.

“At ACU, our students and faculty are immersed in the day-in-day-out process of adapting this technology to the classroom, and we’re succeeding. We look forward to sharing our experience with ACS,” says McConnell.

Hill’s company, APT Advanced Trailer, revolutionized the American peanut industry with its patented semi-trailer that procures (dries) and transports peanuts and various other agricultural products. In 2007 an Advanced Trailer was used to dry woodchips by researchers at the Herty Advanced Materials Development Center in Savannah, Ga. Since that time Advanced Trailer has provided funding and or equipment to a number of universities and companies for biomass and crop residue drying research. In 2009, Advanced Trailer announced that the University of Idaho had been selected as the recipient for funding related to biomass drying research. On Dec. 8, 2010, Hill received national headlines for funding the ChargerTech initiative at Dallas Christian School in Mesquite, Texas. The nation’s first K-12 school to implement use of Apple iPads in the classroom.

Author: RWHill
• Monday, January 24th, 2011

Last month we announced funding for an initiative to provide iPads for teachers at Dallas Christian School. Today, we’re announcing a similar initiative at Abilene Christian School.

We do so for two reasons. First, we believe in Christian education. We believe we need it and we believe it can make a difference in the life of a child.

Second, we believe technology is the key to unlocking the future. If teachers have iPads, teachers will teach better and children will learn more.

I’ll have more to say about this topic throughout the week. So stay tuned!

Author: RWHill
• Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Today we continue our series on New Year’s Resolutions. And one of my biggest resolutions in 2011 is to get more technology into the classroom.

As readers of this blog know, my family funded a grant to Dallas Christian Schools in December to help provide faculty and staff with iPads. That’s a great start. But it’s only one school. In 2011, we will be exploring the possibility of funding a similar grant at a different school. This will be our way of revolutionizing how our kids learn by revolutionizing the way we teach them.

Be looking for an announcement sometime in early 2011 about another grant of iPads for classrooms.

Author: RWHill
• Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Today we continue our series on the impact of technology in the classroom. Some people may wonder if computers make a difference. They do. But don’t take my word for it:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/19387.php

According to this scientific survey done a few years ago in Massachusetts, computers have a profound impact on the kids who use them. This is particularly true once they start taking standardized tests:

“Analyzing test performance and computer uses of 986 fourth grade students from 55 classrooms in nine Massachusetts school districts, the study found that the more regularly students use computers to write papers for school, the better they performed on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment Systems (MCAS) English/Language Arts exam.”
Simply put, the more kids use computers the better off they are. And that will be even more true with the newest generation of computers: iPads.

Author: RWHill
• Friday, December 17th, 2010

Earlier this year a movie hit theaters that could change our country. It was called “Waiting for Superman.” This documentary tells the story of five school children whose dreams will likely be derailed by schools that don’t teach and won’t change. What a travesty. Here is the link to the website where you can learn more about the film and the foundation that supported it:

http://www.waitingforsuperman.com/action/

But we can also start changing schools ourselves. After you watch the trailer or read the stories on the Waiting for Superman website, think about what you can do to change your school.

I know what I can do and what I am doing: finding schools that share my same vision of a true 21st Century education by helping teachers use 21st Century technology like iPads; a 21st Century education where teachers have the tools to teach better and kids learn better.

Author: RWHill
• Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

A lot has been made in the news recently about China someday overtaking us economically. What’s even scarier is that they’ve already overtaken us educationally:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/education/07education.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&hp

Everyone should read this article. It describes a detailed survey that was done that shows Chinese students are miles ahead of their American counterparts:

“In math, the Shanghai students performed in a class by themselves, outperforming second-place Singapore, which has been seen as an educational superstar in recent years. The average math scores of American students put them below 30 other countries. In reading, Shanghai students scored 556, ahead of second-place Korea with 539. The United States scored 500 and came in 17th, putting it on par with students in the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and several other countries. In science, Shanghai students scored 575. In second place was Finland, where the average score was 554. The United States scored 502 — in 23rd place — with a performance indistinguishable from Poland, Ireland, Norway, France and several other countries.”

Incredible. We all know our schools are not good enough. But did we know it was this bad?

The time has come for a revolution in schools in America. And it starts with using technology in the classroom

Author: RWHill
• Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

How much has education changed over the years? In some ways, a lot.

In 1939, school buses colored themselves in yellow to set them apart. In 1958, science education gained a new emphasis after the Soviets launched Sputnik. In 1965, Head Start began to help low income children.

And in the 1990s, whiteboards began to replace chalkboards.

These are all nice things. But none of them change how kids are fundamentally taught. We now live in an era where a mobile device can show you movies, play you music or research any question for you.

Isn’t it time we used that same kind of technology to change the way teach our kids in the classroom?

Author: RWHill
• Thursday, December 09th, 2010

Yesterday I announced that I was providing funding so that Dallas Christian School can offer iPads to all its teachers. I did so because I believe in education. More important, I did so because I believe education needs to change.

From now on, teachers at Dallas Christian will have the world at their fingertips. If they need to research something, or find a lesson plan or get advice from other teachers, they can do it all on their iPads. This will make Dallas Christian the leader when it comes to using technology in education. I’m not aware of any other secondary school doing this…but I predict others will follow.

Tomorrow I’ll talk more about what the future of education will look like and what we need to do to get there.

Author: RWHill
• Wednesday, December 08th, 2010

Randy Hill Launches Initiative to Give iPads to Teachers at Dallas Christian

Charitable donation will allow 60 teachers and all high school students to receive iPads

DALLAS, TEXAS—Randy Hill, President and CEO of Advanced Trailer, today announced that he is providing money to help Dallas Christian School distribute iPads to each full-time teacher as part of its new ChargerTech initiative.  Faculty will spend the Christmas holidays familiarizing themselves with the device, after which they will begin collaborating with experts from Abilene Christian University, a recognized leader in the area of Mobile Learning.

“We can’t keep giving our kids the kind of instruction I received in the ‘80s, let alone giving it to them essentially in the way it was delivered in the 1880s,” Hill said in making the announcement. “I’m thrilled to be able to help DCS accomplish its goal of becoming a more innovative institution that can get these students ready for the jobs they will want in the future – many of which don’t even exist right now.”

Plans call for all of Dallas Christian’s high school students to receive their own iPads in August 2011, prior to the start of the school year.  iPad carts will be available across campus for use by students in the lower grades.

Dallas Christian’s partnership with Abilene Christian University will give DCS faculty access to the latest research in the ever-expanding world of mobile learning technology.

“We look forward to supporting the ChargerTech initiative,” says Dr. Billie McConnell, director of ACU’s k-12 Digital Learning Institute. “Schools need to be developing their students’ critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills. Making use of the latest digital tools is one of the most important ways they can accomplish their mission.

“At ACU, our students and faculty are immersed in the day-in-day-out process of adapting this technology to the classroom, and we’re succeeding. We look forward to sharing our experience with Dallas Christian,” says McConnell.

Author: RWHill
• Wednesday, December 08th, 2010

I know something about change.

About sixteen years ago, the peanut industry continued to harvest, transport and dry peanuts the way it had for over 40 years using little wagons pulled behind a pickup.

At Advanced Trailer, we saw an opportunity to do something different. We developed the Advanced Trailer. Essentially, we took a semi trailer, converted it into a mobile multi-use container and gave peanut farmers the ability to harvest, transport, dry and store their peanuts all in one vehicle. This revolutionized the industry.

DSC_0374

But isn’t that really the story of progress in America? Someone finds a better way of doing something? The train gave way to the car and the car gave way to the plane. The typewriter gave way to the computer. Fire heated water, produced steam and gave way to electricity.

Technology also leads to improvements. And now it’s time for technology to change education.

Later today, I’ll be making a big announcement about how I’m going to do my part to revolutionize education and bring the classroom into the 21st Century.  Check in tomorrow to find out more about it.

Author: RWHill
• Monday, December 06th, 2010

This week our blog will focus on one of the most important issues facing our country: education.

As a former student and a current parent, I know how important education is to our society. The leaders of tomorrow are being formed in the classrooms of today. Unfortunately, too many of those classrooms resemble the 19th century more than the 21st century.

One hundred and fifty years ago, classrooms looked very different. They were heated with fireplaces; they were lit with candles or gas lamps. The kids walked to school or took a horse and buggy.

That has all changed. Today, classrooms are powered by electricity. And kids get to class in cars and buses. But surprisingly, much about what goes on inside the classroom is still the same. Teachers still often use chalkboards. Kids use textbooks and pencil and paper.

Isn’t it time we updated the way we teach? Don’t our kids deserve a 21st century education?

What would a 21st century classroom look like? We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Author: RWHill
• Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Today we continue our series on education in Texas. And we do so by taking up one of the most controversial issues around: textbook curriculum.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37271857/ns/us_news-life/

As this article notes, the Texas Board of Education recently adopted new standards that have sparked controversy. But in reviewing these changes, I’m not sure I understand what all the controversy is about:

“In one of the most significant changes leading up to the vote, the board attempted to water down the rationale for the separation of church and state in a high school government class, pointing out that the words were not in the Constitution and requiring that students compare and contrast the judicial language with the wording in the First Amendment.”

Controversy? It makes sense to me that kids would be asked to compare what the Constitution says (”free expression of religion”) and the words that were later incorporated in a 20th century court case (”separation of church and state”). Then kids can judge for themselves whether the founders were trying to create freedom of religion or freedom from religion.

Author: RWHill
• Thursday, May 21st, 2009

This week, Royce Money announced he's retiring as president of my
alma mater, Abilene Christian University.

I've always loved ACU; and I love the great work that Dr. Money did
there during the last 20 years.  Under his leadership, ACU became a
perennial presence on the US News and World Report list of best
colleges.  Under his leadership, programs were expanded and the
endowment increased.  And under his leadership, ACU reached new
heights while remaining firmly committed to its roots.

I know that ACU will find someone who can succeed Dr. Money.  But it
won't find anyone who can replace him.

Category: ACU, EDUCATION | Tags: ,  | Leave a Comment
Author: RWHill
• Thursday, May 07th, 2009

Biomass is catching on…and colleges are helping lead the way!

This week, Auburn University announced “a collaborative effort among the City of Fultondale, Auburn University, Alabama Power Company and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community affairs to develop a plan for converting municipal green waste into clean, renewable energy. Tree limbs, leaves and grass clippings, normally bound for a local landfill, would be used to create a synthesis gas to power generators that produce electricity.”

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/news/breaking_news/story/709400.html

This is yet another example of how research institutions are starting to put their research into action. That’s why our company, Advanced Trailer, has partnered with the University of Idaho to use our trailer to help dry wood chips at their steam boiler plant. Our trailer will make biomass even more effective than before.

And by the way, if Auburn needs some trailers, we’re ready!

Author: RWHill
• Monday, March 16th, 2009

Today is the day! Around noon today, I’ll post my first e-book, entitled “From Tragedy To Triumph: How Economic Challenges Often Create  Economic Progress.”

This book takes a tour through some American history to show that some of our greatest economic inventions occurred not in times of growth but in times of challenge. In our current economic climate, that’s a good message for all of us to remember.

Check back later today and I’ll have the ebook posted on the website!

Author: Randy
• Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

Just finished watching an incredible game where Abilene Christian beat West Texas A&M 93-68.  Oh, and that’s in FOOTBALL (not BB in case you were wondering.   Here’s proof I was there.

(click on image to see the score better)

ACU wins 93-68

- Randy Hill, Texas

Category: ACU, EDUCATION  | Leave a Comment
Author: Randy
• Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Growing up at Dallas Christian School, we had a graduating class of
45 students, so we were all very close.  One of our classmates, 40-
year young lady, Amy Phipps Jones, was one of our dear friends.  She
was very close friend of mine and Jeff Majors.  Amy passed away
recently.

It’s sad that a death is what brings all these friends together.  But
at the same time, there is something very special about the
relationships that you build in a small Christian school, either high
school or in a small Christian university.   You go through school
with someone for 2, 4, 8 or even 12 years and you know them so well
and then your lives take different paths – you go in different
directions.  And even when you don’t see each other for 15 years or
more, it’s special when you see one another.  When you go to a
funeral and you see Amy’s parents – and immediately when you see each
other – there’s a smile on their faces and there’s a smile on our
faces and you know each other – you recognize each other.

And whether it’s Dallas Christian or ACU, there’s a unique connection
that lasts forever.  Whether you see each other annually, or weekly
at church, or if you don’t see each other for 20 years – there’s some
very unique about a relationship that picks up immediately.  And I
think that is the bond that we have through Christ and the
relationship that we have with one another.

At the funeral, it was sad because Amy was so young, with 3 young
children all under the age of 10.  You know, it’s so sad to see
someone pass away at such a young age, and the parent outlive their
child.  We always expect us to take care of our parents.  You don’t
expect to see a child die before the parents.  Heartbreaking experience.

But when we walked into the church, the first thing we saw was our
classmates and it’s like we never missed a minute.  And we had so
many good conversations after the funeral – we went to the family
life center at the University Church of Christ in Abilene (where her
parents live).  When we walked in and saw our classmates, it really
gave me a deep feeling of warmth, of happiness .  After the service,
we saw Amy’s parents.  When I walked up to her mother, it was like
she recognized me as if we had seen each other last week.  Her Dad
was so encouraging.  Amy and I had gone to school together since 6th
grade – it was a good day to see those friends and rekindle those
relationships and to see her parents.

But it was also a tough day because someone’s life was lost – I wish
was there was a way we could get together without it having to be at
a funeral.

My main thought:  what is special is the tie that binds us together -
it’s the relationships.  People talk about loving their church or
loving their alma mater – it’s such a good feeling.  It’s the
reaffirmation of our friendships and those heartfelt feelings.

-RWH

Randy Hill