Our Islands, Our Future


Maui Economic Development Board’s (MEDB) Ke Alahele Education Fund stresses the importance of students having the ability to use a variety of technologies effectively to be career-ready. Recognizing the critical nature of this preparation, MEDB has worked vigorously throughout its history to enhance education and training in the community. The Ke Alahele Education Fund recently sent teachers from Haiku Elementary School and King Kekaulike High School to attend the 2016 Google Education Summit at the University of Hawaii Manoa; MEDB’s Women In Technology project also provided funding. The Google Apps for Education workshop (GAFE) presented a core group of productivity applications that Google offers to schools and educational institutions. The function of these applications is to strengthen skills and unlock access to dozens of other collaborative tools supported by Google such as Docs, Drive, Calendar, and others. Google’s educational apps allow students to work from any device on documents and projects and can be easily accessed with an internet connection.

“The two day summit provided a wealth of information,” said Barbara Yoshida Potts, technology coordinator at Haiku Elementary School. “We learned that with GAFE, a teacher is provided with a toolbelt of innovative technologies to inspire students in this ever-changing world. We are excited to use the concepts learned at the summit to further develop and improve our science, technology, engineering and mathematics program here at Haiku Elementary.”

“Inspired by the workshop’s opening keynote by Jamie Casap, Chief Education Evangelist at Google, teachers were encouraged to rethink the traditional educational model,” said Emily Haines-Swatek, career and technical education coordinator and MEDB’s STEMworks™ teacher at King Kekaulike High School. “GAFE helps teachers to make important shifts in their instructional practices to increase student engagement and achievement. Teaching students the ability to communicate effectively, appropriately and professionally, through technology, gives them a necessary skill in whatever field they choose,” she explained. “Kekaulike teachers went on to spend the two-day workshop learning about Google productivity tools, ways to bring cultural experiences to the classroom and even how to become trainers themselves.”

The GAFE workshop was an awesome experience! It provided innovative ways to integrate technology to create a more interactive and hands-on educational experience, which were presented by a highly motivated and knowledgeable team of instructors.

John DiMartino, Teacher, King Kekaulike High School