Wawasee Community Schools Going Digital
Technology changes are heading our way and at a rapid pace. To help our students prosper in tomorrow's job market, technology skills are a necessity. Our corporation vision includes that we ensure our graduates possess:
- Life and Career Skills
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Information, Media, and Technology Skills
- Core Subject Skills with 21st Century Themes
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The administrative team and the technology staff understand that buying mobile devices is not going to be the answer to solving all student learning problems. But we do know that students are engaged by using these devices. However, if they are not used or not used properly, they are a waste of valuable resources. A successful 1:1 program requires that we begin to change the way that educators teach and help students invest in their own learning. Individualizing instruction, collaborating, problem solving, and creating products can all be done easier with the use of technology. We do not expect this change to be made overnight. It will be a gradual process over a period of years beginning by changing a few lessons at a time. Every lesson and homework assignment does not need to be digital. There needs to be a blend to better engage all students. Home Internet access will not be required to complete activities like homework. Homework can be downloaded while in school and synced when at school the following day.
We would like parents and students to:
- Take an honest and open approach to this change
- To give their best effort
- Share their opinions in a constructive manner
- Help shape this change to make Wawasee Community Schools the best learning environment it can be for all students
Infrastructure: Wireless survey complete and access points purchased for Wawasee High School. Wireless surveys are in progress for all other school buildings.
Devices: We have been contacting and visiting other school corporations that have already begun this 1:1 process. We are looking at various models of laptops, netbooks, and tablets. We are also examining different operating systems. Major considerations include the ability to create products, security, online testing, and battery life.
Professional Development: We are planning summer training opportunities for digital curriculum resources including Build Your Own Curriculum, Moodle, Google Apps, and Gmail. These trainings will be continued throughout the school year.
Also, there will be training in the care and use of the digital devices.
Timeline: We cannot afford to give every single student a device next year. The school board has granted us permission to pilot this program with the incoming 9th grade students. Our plan would be to continue adding devices at the 9th grade level and in the second year of this plan, add 5th grade students. We are planning on a 4 year life span for these devices. So over a 5 year time period, every student grades 5 - 12 will have a device. Each year we do not adopt new hard copy text books, more text book rental money will be available to help purchase these devices. Also, during this time period, we will be piloting devices with classrooms in the K-4 grades.