Innovation Tech Academy is a non-for-profit institution dedicated to the education of middle school students. The school's specializes in responsible technology use, digital citizenship, project-based learning, and collaborative communication that augment higher order learning.
Core subjects are tailored to the Florida Department of Education CPalms standards. These subject areas include English literacy, mathamatics, science, social studies, visual arts and music, computer science, spanish, and physical education. All courses consist of two primary components beyond the subject matter, 1) incorporating technology tools and its appropriate use, and 2) effective student communication methods.
At Innovation Tech Academy, students are essentially motivated to be creators, problem solvers, critical thinkers, and promoters of safe and appropriate use of technology. Teachers are highly skilled in technology integration and teach in a transformative way, taking a student-centered approach to education, and facilitate makerspace activity experiences that enhance collaborative and higher order learning skills.
Innovation Tech Academy is focused on individualized curriculum and instruction where students progress at their own speed. Students individual levels are determined through written and computer-based assessments. Teachers are facilitators that present an academic foundation using direct instruction and technology to augment students learning abilities. Subject matter questions are handled on an individual basis and guidance is provided on appropriate and responsible use of new technology or software being utilized. Students work in groups to communicate information learned through project based learning.
Classes are conducted using a combination of the project based learning model and spaced learning teaching model.
Project Based Learning Model focuses on students working in project teams. Teachers provide some direct instruction and guide students through the project planning process. Students use community or current events as projects themes. 21st century skills are emphasized through collaboration, communication, problem solving, and creativity. Assessment and grades are mostly based on demonstration, project outcomes, and project performance rubrics. Innovation Tech Academy lesson plans follow the State of Florida CPalms, along with activities such as group discussion and case studies that engage students.
Spaced Learning Model is used to increase subject matter retention and allow for mental breaks. Students intensively learn in intervals of 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes breaks. Research has shown that this method allows students to effectively understand and learn material much more than learning the same content for consecutive longer periods of time.
The combination of these two teaching models allows for increased student attention and involvement in course material. Students are engaged in course work through project based learning and expand their creative abilities with spaced learning. Individualized attention with case studies and project based learning using enhanced communication skills to interact with fellow students and teachers further augments student learning initiatives.
Of main focus for the school and its academic process is the use of Makerspaces. This concept incorporates a specific designated area where all grade level students will gather to share resources and knowledge, work on projects, network, and build. This creates a community environment as students share tools and abilities to further their academic understanding of specific projects. Special assembly days and times are designated for these instructional guided assemblies to motivate the idea of collaborative learning through hands-on exploration.