1. Why are we exploring digital tools?
We live in a digital world and we want to provide a curriculum that engages all students and provides the skills necessary to compete in an ever-changing global society.
2. What role will textbooks play in student learning?
Our current structure blends continued use with many of our textbooks, as we remain committed to adopting and curating digital curriculum. Next year, we plan to utilize textbook rental to help offset the purchase of devices for students in grade 6-12 and to further support student access to digital content. We have been diligent in building a solid curricular foundation, by providing a high-quality professional development program for staff to help build their confidence and comfort in moving to digital resources and platforms.
3. How have we prepared staff for this initiative?
The technology committee conducted a thorough review of successful 1:1 student computing programs. Based on the results of our analysis and through discussions during our technology committee meetings, we have implemented a targeted professional development program that will support student our staff in moving to a 21st century learning environment. We currently have technology coaches at the elementary and secondary levels. These coaches are supported by an outside train the trainer model which allows them to stay current as they support teachers and administrators with 21st Century best practices. Coaches regularly lead conversations and professional development to increase both the capacity of our teachers and administrators to improve student learning. The impact of investing resources and developing the digital leadership capacity within our own staff has been transformational for our staff and students. We believe investing in our staff will allow for sustainability as we move forward. In addition, every teacher (August 2016) and school board member (December 2015) has been issued a Lenovo Chromebook.
4. What devices are currently available?
Currently, the district four (4) computer labs, which will be gradually phased out at the start of the 2017-18 school year. All classrooms are equipped with digital projectors, many of the rooms also have SMART Boards. In addition, Jr.-Sr. High School and Elementary staff has access to a cart of of iPads, iPods, Dell mini laptops and two (2) carts of Chromebooks.
5. How can parents help?
You should be able to look at the device and see what they are doing. Tell your child that you are doing this to ensure they are making good choices. Remember, this is not their diary. It’s really not much different from reviewing their math notebook.
The key here is listening. You want to have an open, honest dialogue with your child. You want your child to come to you if they are feeling pressured, bullied, etc. Show them that you have a genuine interest in what they are doing and want to help them.
We believe technology can really help with schoolwork, but that doesn’t mean technology should consume them. Set time limits in your home with your devices such as when to put them down, what your child may visit online, the social media they are allowed to view. Monitoring your child’s online usage will help them learn responsible use.
Encourage your child to be a smart digital citizen. Discuss with your child what posting today can do tomorrow in positive and negative situations. Encourage them to think about what other’s feelings might be when making comments on social media. Encourage them to represent themselves well in their online persona.