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  • 8306 Wilshire Blvd #2029 Beverly Hills, CA 90211
  • (310)313-3171

Our Ask

IConnect – The Competitive Advantage

IConnect offers a back-to-basics program shaped to redress deficiencies in today’s educational apparatus that no one else is addressing. IConnect provides teachers with the tools they need in a format specifically tailored for them.

Everyone agrees today’s educational content and methodology are not meeting student needs but an even knottier problem is that no one seems to take into account the daily challenges and unmet needs of teachers!

In response to the perceived flaws in the prevailing educational fabric, a plethora of alternatives has sprung up – “charter schools”, “magnet schools”, “makerspace” – terms reflecting the novel nomenclature for a whole new lineup of non-traditional schooling methods – each with its own version of academic utopia and, in the majority of cases, serving the privileged.

IConnect differs from all these other systems, doctrines and approaches in that what we offer is a functional curriculum built by the teacher for the teacher using state standards. We build lessons from the ground up and bring the real world into the classroom so as to allow students to connect with content. We use current technology to maximize the learning experience for students. For example, we can incorporate the use of Google Hangouts by students at Los Angeles High School in such a way that they can collaborate with their counterparts at Harlem High School in envisioning and designing the next Corvette for a tenth-grade math class. We can use Google ML or AI to assess students on a regular basis while concurrently modifying content the student receives based on his or her preferences, predilections and level of achievement.  We do all this while integrating project-based learning and we accommodate STEM/STEAM precepts while tying the arts to the dry disciplines STEM represents and reviving the principle of creativity and the spirit of innovation in a non-exclusionary way no one else has accomplished on a large scale.

Because IConnect is technology-driven we are advocating for the availability of Google Chrome-books for every student and we believe civil rights are violated when such needs are not met in public schools. We hold this belief for a number of reasons. First of all, there is the huge, unaddressed issue of the lump amalgamation of culturally and academically disparate students in overcrowded classrooms. In today’s public schools, it is not uncommon for an advanced student to share the same class with an autistic student or a Filipina refugee. The state is supposed to deliver proper education to all – an impossible task without the help of technology. This conviction is inherent in the IConnect program as it’s built from the bottom up.  So, as we present a science class revolving around the advances of Amgen biopharmaceutical company or a geometry class exploring the creations of architect Frank Gehry, we do so with flexible materials adaptable to a multitude of levels and language skills and the latitude to share course assignments at home with parents or with other helpers remote from the physical classroom.

The advantage of technology lies in its adaptability factor. Once all IConnect content has been built, every school can create and customize its own lesson plans that allow any student to find his or her individual voice. IConnect features search boxes making focused content instantly available at the user’s fingertips. Our centralized digital library yields concentrated, readily accessible information in one place, eliminating the necessity to sift through reams of traditional “hardcopy” text. Pre-tabulated subject matter relating to a given topic or theme can be summoned up already researched and harvested. As an additional wow factor, IConnect boasts “real life examples” of persons who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers and, by so doing, seeks to inspire students to pursue excellence. A student thirsting for role models exemplifying girl’s leadership may be empowered by an IConnect interview and profile of a “real life example” vividly communicating her own experience. The goal is to furnish inspiring examples of other occupants of the same world the student inhabits and can connect with and to make classroom academics relevant to students by demonstrating how admirable persons in all walks of life have found important uses and applications of science, mathematics, history and social studies, art, music and other school subjects, in their “real world” endeavors. Black History Month is no longer a special occasion when a student can learn about great African American inventors or leaders at any time or about those making black history every day. In young people the power of identification is particularly pronounced and IConnect‘s “real life examples”, whether embodying aspects of professional accomplishment, gender, race, or ethnicity, can exert a profound influence upon the beholder.

Because our platform is designed on Google‘s open architecture it allows third party companies to continue to develop and evolve content around our solid foundation and continuity.

The great news about IConnect is that it’s free for all grades 6 thru 12 and is tied to Google Classroom‘s free format. This saves schools great expense for technology and tools for the project and for STEM/STEAM hands-on learning experiences.

IConnect is a global initiative that can reach hundreds of millions of students. So long as a student wants to learn there are no limitations.

IConnect is not intent on re-inventing the wheel so our teams will look at curricula created by Khan Academy, Charter Environment School, the Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum, and Google glasses or VR platform Daydream and integrate them with Arts Connect where appropriate.

 

Partners

When we speak of partnered relations such as linking with Khan, it’s in order to motivate students to solve problems. When, for example, an Arts Connect lesson plan reaches a certain math problem, we may recommend a specific Khan exercise to help the struggling student.

 

What’s the problem being solved?

Right now, a teacher wishing to use Google Classroom must load all content personally – a daunting task adding further strain to an already overly busy schedule. Arts Connect is building a central library of content where, with the push of a button, a teacher can select and access Arts Connect-populated material he or she wants to teach that week. Utilizing Google Classroom is now an easy proposition. Arts Connect will integrate Google glasses and Daydream tools to bring the field trip into the classroom again saving teachers hundreds of man hours. We will provide the teachers relevant content. We will keep students engaged.

 

Current Landscape

Schools are pushing hard for a 1:1 teacher-to-student ratio. Under present public school conditions, reaching this objective is a virtual impossibility.  By contrast, IConnect handily accommodates the 1:1 aspiration, being fully adaptable to home schooling and use by the hospitalized and the incarcerated.

 

On the Horizon

IConnect‘s centralized digital library will make available a broad array of images, graphs, charts, maps, articles, essays, critiques, biographies, analyses, records, reports and other texts informing a wide-ranging spectrum of data related to curriculum coursework and will consolidate it at a one-stop destination with a rapidity that cannot be duplicated by any other means. Arts Connect will make classroom content relevant by drawing parallels between school studies and “real world” experience. With Arts Connect, students can watch and listen to Michael Jordan make the connection between applied mathematics and the design and engineering of a Nike athletic shoe or learn how racial stereotypes or social attitudes portrayed in The Great Gatsby may persist today. These parallels are driven home by the supplementary materials in the Arts Connect digital library which are specifically designed to supplement the classroom syllabus. Arts Connect fosters personal identification and engagement with educational content and with the ultimate purpose of education which, besides disseminating knowledge, is intended to prepare students for adult occupations.

 

How can Google and IConnect Synergize?

Arts Connect lesson plans can repose in a Google cloud and be transferred to Google Classroom as the situation demands. We will build our tools in a Google-compatible format. When content is populated through our drop-down app, a teacher or student having a Google account can click a mouse and Google Classroom will automatically populate. Google is the perfect partner as we take our system nationwide. We have secured official authorization to conduct a 9 week pilot program in the San Bernardino School system, third largest in the United States and serving nearly 500,000 students. Once our nine-week trial period has successfully concluded, we will extend our pilot program to all other interested school systems including those who have already expressed interest such as Los Angeles Unified School District; Buffalo, New York School System;  Long Beach School System;  and many others. We will continue to deliver our app via the Google platform.

 

What Will Become of Books?

Many decision-makers at the forefront of education want to do away with long-established textbooks because they don’t want to have to deal with copyright issues. IConnect proposes building new curricula from scratch. If we create a full digital platform it will save billions in costs for textbooks that can be efficiently replaced by Chrome-books. Many textbooks no longer work. They are outdated and can’t keep up when changes are made to Common Core guidelines. Arts Connect stores up-to-date materials in its central online repository where teachers have instant access.

By the Teacher, of the Teacher, for the Teacher

IConnect is built by teachers for teachers. We ask teachers in the trenches for their input – something no one else has done. We will use our seed money to hire expert teachers to build Arts Connect‘s content.

 

Students Have a Say

During the course of our pilot programs, we will ask students what works for them both with regard to content and delivery method. Students need to start receiving content the way they are used to:  i.e., video immersion.

 

Participation by High-Profile Personalities

Who doesn’t want to learn from the masters? What celebrity, prominent professional, or public figure won’t spend four hours of his or her life to make a difference to millions of students? Often these personages are asked to help a school but reach so very few. With our AR/VR and hologram technology Arts Connect can change all this.

 

Reaching Urban Youth

So many programs overlook the special needs of urban youth. There is a crying need for content to be modified to speak to them. Teachers in areas serving urban youth understand this dilemma but it takes too much work to modify content to align with the urban youth perspective. IConnect delivers content that reflects a world view with which these students can identify and relate.

 

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Advisors

Kim Gomez, Ph.D., UCLA Curriculum Development

Sam Abramovich, Ph.D., Research Professor at University of Buffalo

 

Board

Honorable Diane Watson, former U.S Representative and first African American Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member

 

 

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What’s the ask?

We are looking for a $500K raise to build out 9 weeks of content for all academic subjects (Math, Science, Literature and History) grade 9. Content will include video AR/VR field trips. Scope encompasses four units per subject and 10 to 15 lessons per unit or as many as 240 lesson plans. Physical textbooks for participating classes may be dispensed with, if desired. Arts Connect will digitize current materials so “old school” teachers can continue teaching with the traditional materials to which they are accustomed;  the difference is that they now have the option of employing the same material which has been fully converted to Google Classroom.

 

 

Who could be at the table?

Tom Torlakson, State of California Superintendent of Schools; Dr. Diane Watson, former U. S. Congresswoman;  John Rubey, President of Fathom Events, former C.E.O. of AEG Television and Network LIVE;  John Maatta, C.E.O. of Wizard World, former Vice President of Warner Brothers Television Network and C.O.O. of the CW Television Network.

 

 

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Together, Google and Arts Connect can correct many of the most glaring defects in the prevailing pedagogic system and promote and perpetuate a paradigm-shifting approach to education whose repercussions promise to reverberate for generations to come.

 

— Jeff Marinelli

 

 

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