i3 Academy at Flagler Palm Coast High School Awarded Best in Network from New Tech Network

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Teacher Recognized for Outstanding Original Curriculum

VandeBunte and Students with CEO Lydia Dobyns

Whether through the creative use of technology, collaborative project design, or empowering student voice, great project-based learning is a tremendous way to ignite the interests and passions of students. -Lydia Dobyns, CEO

New Tech Network (NTN) announced at the New Tech Network Annual Conference (NTAC) in Orlando, Florida, that Courtney VandeBunte of i3 Academy at Flagler Palm Coast High School in Palm Coast, Florida, was awarded Best in Network for her submission "Prosthetics for Paws."

VandeBunte, a Science and Art Design teacher, received the award for a student-designed and produced prosthetic leg for a dog.

More than 1,850 educators representing elementary, middle and high schools nationwide were present for the July 11-14 conference which featured the theme: "Making it Personal ─ Connecting the School and the Student.”

New Tech Network recognizes the Best in Network teacher who exemplifies successfully combining active exploration, application, authenticity and academic rigor. A committee of peers reviews all teacher submissions and selects the award winner, based on the student project that best creates an exemplary learning opportunity.

VandeBunte challenged her "Anatomy of Design" students to design and build a prosthetic leg for Champ, a dog that had lost his leg in an accident. "Using 3D printers, the students turned their vision into reality and created a variety of prosthetic models to test on Champ," she said. "Their work continues as modifications are made in the hopes that one of these models will become the leg that will ultimately work for Champ."

According to one of VandeBunte's peer reviewers, "Prosthetics for Paws involved tools, tasks and processes that required the students to push their limits. The most powerful and effective projects for students allow them to feel like they can have an impact on the world, and this project most definitely had a concrete impact on the lives of both two- and four-legged friends."

Students began the project by meeting with Champ and his owners and asking questions and observing. The students then divided into competing groups, but ultimately joined together to address some of the key challenges, notably Champ's lack of a residual limb and the difficulty in devising a way to attach the prosthetic.

VandeBunte also initiated an "Ask an Expert Day" where students were able to consult with a physical therapist, rehab veterinarian and a 3D Printing engineer. At the conclusion of the project, students presented their results to a group comprised of the various experts plus school officials and members of the media.

Project-based learning such as "Prosthetics for Paws" is a hallmark of all New Tech Network schools and provides students with learning that is connected to their community, relevant and engaging. "Whether through the creative use of technology, collaborative project design, or empowering student voice, great project-based learning is a tremendous way to ignite the interests and passions of students while preparing them for college and career," said Lydia Dobyns, NTN President and CEO. "Great schools provide positive cultures, meet the needs of each learner and truly prepare high school graduates for post-secondary paths of their choosing.”

The New Tech Network consists of over 180 schools in the United States and Australia. NTN is a leading design partner for comprehensive school change and while it does not operate schools, all New Tech schools share four design elements:

· Teaching that Engages ─ Through project-based learning, students become problem-solvers.
· Outcomes that Matter ─ New Tech Network learning outcomes also measure collaboration, written and oral communication and the development of student responsibility for their own learning, or agency.
· Culture that Empowers ─ By making learning relevant and creating a collaborative learning culture, students become connected to, engaged with, and challenged by their school, their teachers and their peers.
· Technology that Enables ─ Through a technology-rich environment, teachers and students create, communicate, access information, and experience self-directed learning.


Who We Are:
New Tech Network, a national non-profit organization, is a leading design partner for comprehensive school change. We work closely with districts and schools to create innovative learning environments. Through a proven school model, a project-based learning platform, and powerful professional development, we coach schools toward lasting change and ongoing improvement.

There are over 180 schools 29 states and Australia in the New Tech Network. Visit a school today!

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Krista Clark

Krista Clark
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