San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

High School goes virtual to help students learn

Valley Forge High School, in the Tibás district north of the capital, is bringing its students into the digital age with a program called “Plataforma Virtual” (“Virtual Platform”). Students and teachers are turning to cyberspace to better their education, with online and digital textbooks and newspapers, classroom blogging, and interactive assignments and presentations.

Last week the school celebrated the launch of the virtual platform with a presentation about the program, musical entertainment by students and a dinner. Some 80 students attend the high school.

“Virtual Platform is a revolution in our school,” said Valley Forge Director Rosa Soto, speaking to a crowd of teachers, students and parents. “We plan to further student learning by using new technology.”

The Tico Times is also involved in the high school’s new program. Alex Villachica, a Valley Forge English teacher, said each of his classes begin with students reading The Tico Times. All students have online subscriptions to the newspaper. 

“We study The Tico Times to learn new vocabulary and practice reading news stories,” Villachica said. “It’s a way to learn English and lessen our footprint on the Earth.”

Throughout the event, Villachica and other teachers spoke about how they plan to use online newspapers, animated PowerPoint presentations and digital interactive textbooks. In one presentation, video demonstrations of how a cell works or how a plane flies were made engaging with on-screen assignments by the school’s science department.

“The future is in technology,” Soto said, adding that “we need to understand it the best we can.”

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