Gateway Success Center is an alternative high school in Lawton, Oklahoma, where students take control of their own education, thanks to a learning management system called Accelerate or “Buzz” that revolves around personalized learning. Gateway is among the first to try this advanced education style, so to see how it is benefiting the students, Gateway journalism student Isabella set out to interview the first two students to have successfully completed a course in “Buzz”. The following is from said interview:
1. What course did you complete?
-k: Biology 1
-m:Graphic Design, and World Geography.
2. What motivated you to finish how you did?
-k: Not really motivated, it’s just just how I like to do things, to get things over with. -m:I’m always behind and I wanted to be ahead for once.
3. Did you use a specific strategy when working?
-k: Not really; just ‘my way of doing things’.I would just work on one class for seven hours a day.
-m:Not really, just have a schedule; for me, I made sure I had my four hours here, four at home, and four over the weekend.
4. Do you have any tips that you can offer students that might be struggling to finish their classes?
-k: Not really; the best I can say is “Keep trying”, but at the same time, people can struggle when they don’t understand something, but that’s the cool thing about this website: you can look back over things.
-m:Probably just don’t do enough: always do more.
5. Why do you think you were able to finish before anyone else?
-k: A lot they were teaching was review for me.
-m:Probably because that’s all I do is work.
6. How do you feel about the “Buzz” program so far?
-k: It can be complicated because there’s a lot you have to go through to get an assignment turned in; they could fix that, and that would help a lot.
-m:I feel like it’s easy for a lot of students with class anxiety issues.
7. Do you like this way of learning:, would you recommend it to people who struggle with traditional schooling?
-k: Definitely! It’s just for me; I can work faster, and for other students, they don’t have to worry about getting left behind.
8. Is there anything about the program you have found that you would like to discuss?
-k: Not particularly.
-m:Probably just that there needs to be better available resources to do your work.
9. What are your goals for this program?
-k: I was looking at my path, and I saw myself graduating at the end of this year; maybe not this year, but definitely next year, so just a speedy graduation.
-m:I want to at least finish with not just enough credits, but extra.
10.Do you think that this program will be able to help you achieve any other educational goals you may have?
-m:Yeah, on “Buzz” psychology (my future goal), I can get through it here and learn more for it on the computer.
11.Do you have any expectations for the rest of the school year?
-k: No, just to go the same as it’s been going.
-m:Not really expectations; I don’t expect anything, so I won’t be upset if I don’t make them.
12.What are some specific parts of this school/ program that you like?
-k: Other than we discussed, not really, besides the fact that my science teacher from last year is here.
-m:That we can choose when to leave or stay, and you can take your work with you; there’s no paper, just an itty bitty laptop.
13.Do you feel like this is a better education style than traditional schools?
-k: Well, in some ways it could use improvement; the way the teaching is done can be annoying, and some kids need more than just reading; it can be hard with the meetings not happening a lot, and I’ve seen it in a lot of students this year.
-m:Yes, it’s more one-on-one.
14. Is there anything else you want to say related to Accelerate or Gateway?
-m:Just that with ”Buzz”, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.