Students at work at Google-supported school in Sonora. Students at work at Google-supported school in Sonora.

Google aid transforms Sonora high school

Preparatory students benefit from technologically-advanced education

A seven-year-old public high school in the northern border city of Nogales, Sonora, has undergone a remarkable transformation with the help of tech giant Google to become a leader in technologically advanced education.

Nogales Mayor Temo Galindo Delgado told the newspaper El Universal that more than 2,000 students have graduated from the city’s Preparatoria Municipal with a skillset that makes them highly qualified for careers in the manufacturing and business sectors.

A highly developed command of both the English language and new information technologies makes them particularly suited to managerial positions, he said.

The school first opened in 2010 to cater to 800 students who missed out on places at already existing state schools. But in just a short period of time the school has gone from a standing start to leading the way in 21st-century education.

School principal Luis Hernández Barajas told El Universal that part of the school’s success could be attributed to the sponsorship provided by Google, which has supported it with internet servers and granted free access to many of its educational applications.

Interactive white boards known as Smart Boards are installed in the school’s classrooms and students and teachers alike use Google’s educational platforms to enhance their teaching and learning experience.

Consequently, the bricks and mortar school doubles as an interconnected virtual campus and teachers receive constant training to keep their technology-related skills up to date.

Second-year student Christián Alan García Álvarez said that studying on Google’s platforms was a great advantage because all of his work is stored in one place. With the click of a mouse he can send it to his teachers for grading and revision.  Studying online also saves time and is friendly to the environment because no paper and pens are required, he added.

Other students agreed that studying at the school opens up a variety of possibilities for their future careers, especially in technology-related fields. The school is also closely linked with the University of Sonora.

In addition, the school’s educational model — unique in Mexico, according to Hernández — has attracted the attention of multinational medical manufacturer C.R. Bard, which has donated a computing center and sent some of its employees there to complete their studies online.

Courses in areas as diverse as management, engineering, languages and computing are also offered to members of the general public.

As word of its innovative educational program and success spread, demand for places grew and consequently the school decided to open a new campus where the same cutting-edge program is now offered in another Nogales neighborhood.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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