Dell and the Science Leadership Academy Team up to Support Excellence

Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy (SLA) and The Franklin Institute have announced a partnership with Dell to form a new “Center of Excellence in Learning.” 

The center, supported by grant money and technology from Dell, will enable SLA to share their well-known model of inquiry-based learning with schools around the country through real-time and online professional development opportunities. As part of the new partnership, SLA will be moving their one-to-one program to the new Dell Chromebook 11 models. "We're really excited about that,'" said SLA principal Chris Lehmann in an interview with Tech & Learning's Christine Weiser. "We’ve been a big fan of Google apps for education for a long time. And, as a platform for education, we're really excited to use the Chromebooks."

Google's Global Education Evangelist, Jaimie Casap, also weighed in on the benefits of Chromebooks in education: "There are two benefits of Chromebooks for schools. You have the user benefits: they're easy to use, they boot up quickly, and they have long battery lives. ... But the real benefit is on the back end: managing and scaling. You can easily configure any Chromebook to any user. I can take Chris's Dell Chromebook right now, log in to it, and access my stuff. It becomes my Chromebook just by logging onto it. The administrators can actually put the apps that they want on each user profile, they can put the Web pages that they want, they have complete control. Kids can take these machines home and they're still logged into your network. They're still logged into your proxy servers and your proxy settings. You can do learning in a completely different way."

In the end, as Casap pointed out, "it's not about about the technology. It's about education." Jon Phillips, Director of Worldwide Education for Dell, agrees. He pointed out that the SLA model is one that can be deployed, "regardless of the teacher's background and where they're coming from, as long as they have a passion to really engage the student in the learning process. We think this model is very scalable and sustainable and it can be done regardless of whether you’re in a rural or an urban school district, regardless of whether you're a state that is Common Core State Standards or you're a state that has its own standards."

Among other things the grant will allow SLA to host an increasing number of visitors, give SLA teachers time to offer professional development to other schools around the country, and offer a robust site for professional networking.

For more on the announcement, including links to a livestreamed discussion and photos of the event, visit: SLA Opens Center of Excellence at

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