Derek Arnell had his spiel down when the third group of freshmen trooped into his class and sat before one of 32 iMacs. The monitors stayed dark.
Career and technical teacher Derek Arnell speaks to a group of students during freshman orientation last Friday at Del Norte High School. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
“If you write something on Twitter or Facebook and delete it, is it really deleted?” He asked.
Arnell posed this question to more than 50 incoming freshmen at Del Norte High School on Friday, introducing them to his 21st Century Skills class.
In the new class, Arnell will teach students keyboarding and word processing. They’ll create a career plan and learn how to navigate the World Wide Web. Arnell will also drill the concept of digital citizenship into his students’ brains — hence his question. He also emphasized the importance of using professional language.
“You don’t see me saying TTYL OMG,” he said, adding that he and his students will communicate largely through e-mail. “I want to emphasize proper English and proper writing when you’re communicating with your colleagues.”
As they start high school on Tuesday, freshmen will be faced with a new requirement to graduate, passing 21st Century Skills, Arnell said. Another new class this year is Brett Lauble’s web design class.
Lauble and Arnell will also team up to teach journalism and multimedia, focusing on print and digital media, broadcast media, public relations and marketing.
Arnell, who came to Del Norte County from Minnesota, said his students last year created the online newspaper, the Warrior Chronicle, using Google Sites. This year, he hopes to create a print version using Apple’s Pages software.
“We’re bringing it back because kids are interested in journalism,” she said. “It’s a way for them to learn about how to write for a newspaper because it’s definitely different than writing your persuasive essay.”
Lauble, former technology teacher at Crescent Elk Middle School, said his web design class will allow students to help maintain the school’s website as well as those belonging to several teachers. They will also help those teachers create instructional videos using YouTube, Lauble said.
“The teachers are excited,” he said, adding that 15 to 20 teachers are interested in working with his students. “This will take a lot off their plates. And peers teaching peers ... they talk the same language.”
Lauble, who started teaching in the 1980s using the Apple II, said he pitched the idea for a web-design class when he interviewed for the vacant teaching position.
“It could be the first of its kind,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be setting a standard for other schools to look at.”
Lauble’s students will help create instructional videos for Dave Bokor’s math class, Parker said. Bokor, who is also a data coach, introduced the concept of a flipped classroom last year by having his students watch an online lecture and then do the busy work in the classroom, she said. The same model can be used in other classes such as U.S. History, Parker said.
“By getting this set up, it really empowers students,” she said.
“My kids can challenge that typing requirement by taking a test that shows they’re typing over 50 words per minute,” he said. “They don’t have to practice every day, but their tests have to stay above 50.”
Arnell’s freshmen will be using iMacs donated to the school through Rural Human Services, the California Endowment, Building Healthy Communities and the Patricia D. and William B. Smullin Foundation. Baird Rumiano of the Rumiano Cheese Company and Dan Brattain of Cal-Ore Life Flight also helped obtain the computers.
Lauble’s students will be using brand-new PCs equipped with Windows 8.
About 259 freshmen will be attending Del Norte High School, Parker said. That’s about 30 students less than the school typically receives, she said. The high school’s total enrollment is currently at 970 students.