Friday, November 21, 2014

District Pilots 1:1 Technology Initiative

November 21, 2014

Students in three Grain Valley High School classes will be selected to carry a second generation Chromebook with them to all classes this spring as a pilot project.  The district is exploring the possibility of issuing devices to more students in the future.

The School Board approved the purchase of 150 Chromebook devices at their meeting on November 20.  Seventy five of the new laptops will be issued directly to students to use at school and home.  The remaining 75 devices will be divided evenly between three teachers for use in all courses taught by these teachers.  These teachers will receive ongoing training on integrating technology within their teaching practices. The teacher selection process is underway now and students will be identified before Christmas break.

"Technology can be used to improve learning by encouraging collaboration beyond the classroom as well as providing access to online resources," reports Dr. Brad Welle, Assistant Superintendent of Academic and Student Services.  "Technology is becoming so central to all aspects of life; it is taking a greater role in teaching and learning."  In order to gather data on the learning benefit of laptops in class, students and teachers involved in the pilot program will provide input regularly on their experiences with the devices, from the level of collaboration and research being done, to the functionality of the machine itself.  District officials will monitor how students respond and they expect to gain innovative ideas from the students.

Director of Technology Dr. Nick Gooch says the selection of the Samsung Chromebook came down to value.  "For under $300 per device, this laptop is expected to have the functionality and durability needed for day-long use by high school students."  Student safety is also a priority.  "We have filters in place to prevent misuse and ensure the device is used for the intended purpose."

The goal is to be able to make an informed decision around additional devices for the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

UPDATE: June 15, 2015
After a successful pilot with 75 students being issued Chromebook devices this spring, an additional 375 students will be issued devices beginning in the fall of 2015, bringing the total to 450 students. 

Structures for teacher training have been put in place to support teachers as they work to integrate the new technology in their instruction.

The impact of the new practice of issuing devices to high school students will continue to be closely monitored as the district works towards the goal of issuing Chromebooks to all Grain Valley High School students by the fall of 2016.