FTHS Mobile Technology Academy



Leveraging digital tools to promote independence, flexibility and capability in a rapidly changing world.


What is the Foothill Mobile Tech Academy? 

Beginning in Fall 2012 interested teachers at Foothill Technology High School applied to participate in the Foothill Mobile Tech Academy. In January 2013, they received iPads, funds for apps, and professional development in a cohort setting in order to experiment with and share emerging best practices for mobile device instruction.  We deployed 112 iPads (22 teachers, 90 students) and 1 Chromebook for piloting purposes. Photos! Click here to view more photos of Launch Day 

In Fall 2013, we added Chromebooks to the possibilities for teachers to integrate into their classrooms and six teachers were chosen to receive funding. We deployed 155 devices in December (6 teacher iPads, 77 student iPads, 72 student Chromebooks) bringing the current total to 267 devices for our 1,000 student population.

By Fall 2014, two years after launching the Mobile Tech Academy, Foothill had achieved a 2:1 student-to-mobile device ratio with more than 450 iPads and Chromebooks located in classrooms throughout campus, maintained by teachers with very little support necessary from district technicians. Ongoing, regular professional development is provided to support emerging best practices: 


A short story about one day in the pod… 

One day about a year after we introduced mobile technology into classrooms at Foothill, we wandered into the I-pod building. It was a regular 4th period on a Friday in March. What we saw was gratifying and exciting: engaged students collaborating, creating, building and analyzing. A  mix of technology tools was at their fingertips:  iPads, Chromebooks, PCs and smartphones from home.

Freshmen to seniors, they were working in the same room on various topics. One was building a wheelbarrow for the school garden by watching the how-to video on a Chromebook. Others were annotating themes in To Kill a Mockingbird for a flipped mini-lesson for their peers. Another group was studying for AP Psychology. Scattered pairs were creating presentations about drug and alcohol abuse for health class.

The mood was collegial, focused and–depending on the nearness of the various deadlines– intense. Teachers moved from cluster to cluster, checking in, helping solve problems and offering praise.

It was solid evidence  of progress toward our goal of using digital tools to build independent, flexible, capable learners. We snapped a few pictures:


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app

Why we like iPads

The iPad supports essential skill areas:

  • complex communication
  • new media literacy
  • creativity
  • self-directed learning
  • immersive and active learning environment
  • personalized, student-centered learning.
  • quality controlled “evergreen” apps
  • independent management (updating, synching)
  • camera, video capability
  • flexibility to vary learning activities at a moment’s notice


The iPad products we use:


Why we like Chromebooks:

  • Fast access to internet
  • Easy to store and distribute as needed in class
  • Affordable ($250)
  • No software to install
  • Automatically updates
  • No imaging needed 
  • No manual set up for users (can use Google Drive account but don’t have to)
  • No maintenance needed by Technology
  • Plays well with Google Drive (cloud storage) and Google Docs


Chromebook devices we like:

Note: Chromebooks are evolving quickly with new brands entering the product market every few months and with existing brands upgrading their product line. 


Chrome Extensions and Applications:


Getting started with your iPad:


iPad Apps?  



Charting Our Growth  

Click to see:  How Foothill teachers and students are using iPads (after three months)

“I absolutely see changes in my own
feelings about my work. I’m super excited
about finding apps and figuring out ways I
can incorporate them into my curriculum.” — English

“I LOVE the idea that I can do assignments
using cloud based stuff and use less paper.
The kids and I both get excited when talking
about apps and it lends a nice feeling of
collaboration as we figure things out
together.” — History

“Having the iPad has helped me to create
lesson plans with an increased visual
experiences for students. In the lab students
and I have taken pictures so that students can
better understand lab procedures and
expected results. Applications, such as the
“script calculator” also have helped me to
show students who to calculate various
chemical and physics equations.” — Science


EdTech Museum | Digital Evidence of Student Learning and Achievement [on Pinterest]

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 FTHS EdTech Museum