1:1 Technology Connects Students to Careers in Science

Stephan Unterholzner likes living in a town where he can’t go to the store without seeing a student, or a past student – and that’s just the kind of community Manteca is. Unterholzner – also known as “Mr. U” – has been teaching at Sierra High School for 19 of the 20 years since the school was built, and he’s not only witnessed radical changes in the school, he’s helped to drive them.

Located in California’s agricultural Central Valley, Manteca recently made the very bold move to equip all of district’s teachers and students with Windows 8 devices loaded with Microsoft Office, OneNote, Skype and Bing in the Classroom. And while teaching with technology is nothing new to this veteran teacher, 1:1 learning was.

“I have never really wanted to use technology for the sake of using technology,” Unterholzner says, “[I’ve used it] more as a tool. And if I can get more kids to use it as a tool, that’s been my goal.”

Using OneNote, Unterholzner delivers content to students directly on their devices, as well as on the screen at the front of the room. “The students either watch me on the screen, or they will watch me on their actual device, as I’m writing the notes, which is an interesting dynamic,” he says.

For Unterholzner, it’s not only important that students make full use of the devices in science class – researching, experimenting, etc. – it’s important that they’re prepared for their next steps.

“They have to be literate in how to use their device, their tablet, their laptop, whatever, to do well in their college classes,” Unterholzner says. “And I think that’s a huge thing. I think in the workforce, you need that.”

Indeed, technology is an important piece of the puzzle in terms of preparing students for the workforce, and for Unterholzner, connecting them with real-world opportunities is another.

“I’ve been working on partnerships with some engineering companies and other scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Labs,” Unterholzner says. “And you know, the use of technology at those places is huge. A couple of them have come in and said, ‘What your kids are doing in your classes right now, with their ability to use the technology, we could hire them tomorrow.’ So, that’s kind of a nice thing to know.”

Whether he’s imparting a love of science or preparing his students for the future, Stephan Unterholzner is happy to have the right resources for the job. “I’ve always been one of these forward looking people, and I hoped that this [1:1 program] was going to happen, [but] I never thought we would necessarily get that to happen here in Manteca district-wide.”

Mr. U, we’re glad it did! Enjoy today’s Daily Edventure with Stephan Unterholzner.

Read “How an Unlikely District Led Massive Learning Transformation” to learn more about Manteca from the perspective of the students, parents, teachers and administration.



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