The 2018-2019 school year will mark the fifth year of our district’s student device initiative. In 2014, we established a five-year goal to supply all students in grades 1-12 with a device for learning, and we will complete that goal during the 2018-2019 school year. As we look forward to a new school year, here is a summary of what we have accomplished thus far.
In the summer of 2014, we supplied over 600 iPads for students at Northside Intermediate School along with a management cart for each classroom. At that time, we had no way to manage the devices remotely, so all of the iPads had to be connected via USB cable to a single MacBook. We used carts, the MacBook, and a program called Apple Configurator to push settings and apps to the iPads. It was a massive job, but, in the end, our students and teachers had the apps that they needed. Our Northside iPads are now easier to manage thanks to our JAMF mobile device management solution, and these devices have served the Northside campus well over the past four years.
Our new middle school opened in the fall of 2015, and, in addition to a new building, we provided our sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students with new Dell Chromebooks. Students were and are still allowed to use the laptops both at school and at home. Our middle school teachers use Google Classroom, G Suite, and a wealth of other applications with students. Teachers also use the technology for more efficient formative and summative assessment.
In 2016, we purchased iPads and carts for our students and teachers in grades 1-3 at Wylie Elementary School. We were able to supply an iPad for all teachers and for all students in grade 3. We purchased 11 iPads for each of our first and second grade classrooms and these classrooms share a cart. By working together, teachers of students in grades 1 and 2 can have a full set of iPads for their classrooms when they need it.
In 2017, we provided Asus Chromebooks for students in grades 9-11. Like middle school students, high school students keep their devices with them wherever they go so that they have access to their digital textbooks, their documents and files, and to their online coursework. Students use their devices for assessments, for collaborating with other students and with their teachers, for creating presentations for their classes, and a wide variety of other tasks and needs.
During the 2018-2019 school year, our returning high school students will continue to use the devices that were assigned to them in 2017 as they promote to the next grade levels, and our incoming freshmen will be provided new Chromebooks for their learning needs. This will mean that each high school student will have the opportunity to have his/her own laptop. We will also continue to allow students to bring their own technology to use at school, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
As you can see, members of our technology department have been busy over the past few years ensuring that all students and teachers have the technology tools they need to be successful in the classroom. This is especially true of our campus technology specialists who serve the needs of students at schools on a daily basis.
As our technology team prepares for a new school year, it is important for us not to lose sight of our mission, which is to do our part in producing students who are
- given opportunities to use technology across all curricula
- highly engaged in meaningful, real-world activities
- tech literate and responsible
- critical thinkers and problem solvers
- confident using a wide variety of tools for learning and discovery
- given opportunities to utilize 21st Century Skills in all disciplines