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To maximize the power of technology and the web, district leaders must define a clear purpose around using these tools as a method of deploying curriculum. At Del Mar Union Schools in San Diego, California, administrators used Google Chromebooks and Apps for Education to aid in preparing students for academic achievement and college and career readiness.

Baldwin County School District in Alabama spends $9 million per year on its Digital Renaissance program, which funds MacBook Air laptops for middle and high school students, and iPads for K2 students.

Before 4,450 MacBook Airs were distributed to students, before teachers were equipped and trained on their own devices, before test scores increased and the dropout rate decreased, the Mooresville Graded School District’s digital conversion started with a hard look at finances—one result of which was the elimination of more than 35 teaching positions.

Students in the Orange County School District in North Carolina, above left, have sturdy laptops thanks to a blend of funding from a county sales tax and the district’s capital budget.

Prepare for all expenses

Implementing a 1-to-1 program involves more than just buying or leasing tablets or laptops, notes Terry Haas, chief financial officer of Mooresville Graded School District. District leaders also need to prepare for other costs, including setting up wired or wireless networking, and servers needed to support the additional computers and software. Technology staff also needs to be hired or expanded.

When used effectively, the appropriate technology and content can combine to transform learning through creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. While achieving this balance can be challenging, administrators at the Richland School District Two (Columbia, S.C.) have found a way to implement innovative technology and engaging content for its 26,000 students. With Google Chromebooks and Apps for Education, the students at Richland are experiencing an elevated level of collaborative, innovative learning.

Administrators spend a lot of time and funds on implementing education technology in their schools. However, such programs can only be valuable tools if students have the digital skills necessary to use technology effectively. This web seminar, orgininally broadcast on April 18, 2013, featured administrators from the Phillipsburg (N.J.) School District, who described its successful implementation of the EasyTech curriculum from Learning.com.

Edgenuity's iPad software allows educators in Henry County Schools to create customizable math content.

A new flexbooks program will be implemented this fall in math classrooms across a suburban Atlanta school district to keep up with changing state requirements and reduce textbook costs.

Henry County Schools is using Edgenuity software on newly purchased iPads in its math classrooms, nicknaming the program “flexbooks” because teachers and administrators will have the flexibility to create customizable math content for each classroom and student, says Assistant Superintendent Aaryn Schmuhl. Parents will also have access to the content online so they can help students with homework.

Elementary school students from Pulaski Community School District in Wisconsin learn about photography with iPads during summer school.

Visit the classrooms of Burlington High School in the Burlington (Mass.) Public School District and you’ll see the school’s two-year-old 1-to-1 iPad initiative in action. Some students might be taking notes using Evernote, rather than pen and paper. Others may be translating and recording first-aid terms for a Spanish lesson. A music class could be rehearsing with the Garage Band app.

After eight years of employing a 1:1 laptop initiative, the team at Kershaw County Schools in Camden, S.C., chose to investigate alternate options for the 2012-2013 school year. Eventually, the school board decided that a 1:1 iPad initiative was the next logical step in maintaining technological relevance.

iCreate
myCreate iPad App
The myCreate app is based on Stop-Action Movie (SAM) Animation software. Students can edit videos by slowing down or speeding up the delivery of frames, duplicating frames to lengthen scenes and adding music or audio recordings to their videos. Completed videos can be saved to personal albums and/or shared with family members and friends via Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, or HapYak.

In the move to 1:1 computing, school district leaders are increasingly looking for alternatives to traditional PCs and laptops, and for many districts, the go-to device is the iPad. But now, for a growing roster of Apple competitors, the time has come to give the iPad a run for its money.

Glastonbury (Conn.) Public Schools is the latest district to roll out a plan to provide iPads to its 2,200 high school students—and it is only the first step to significantly reduce textbook costs and focus on providing a 21st-century learning environment for its students.

A Griegos Elementary School student in Albuquerque uses an iPad in the library, which has a portable cart of about 30 iPads—known as Computers on Wheels.

For years, there’s been an ongoing discussion about the digital divide between the “haves” and the “have nots.” As technology has advanced, so has that gap, which is driving fundamental changes in how we work, learn, and live.

Administrators, educators, and nonprofit entities nationwide have been trying to lessen that gap over the past decade. With newer, lighter technologies like tablets and ultra-light laptops like the MacBook Air, some schools are considering getting rid of textbooks altogether and going digital.

The Speak Up National Research Project’s Fall 2011 findings revealed that students want technology effectively utilized in their schools. They, as well as parents, teachers, and administrators, are seeking a high level of personalization that will engage and motivate them. The future of personalized learning is dependent on the new technologies and digital content that transform learning.

To implement blended learning effectively, administrators must gain a thorough understanding of the best tools, training, and processes necessary for teacher and student success. Thesys International offers custom curriculum designed to improve learning outcomes through blended learning. This web seminar, originally broadcast on October 25, 2012, featured Fairmont Preparatory Academy and the Pasadena (Calif.) Unified School District, which are in varying stages of implementing blended learning, with help from Thesys International.

A strong strategy and rock-solid network foundation are necessary to successfully implementing iPads in schools. Administrators in San Francisco’s Archbishop Riordan High School decided to implement a 1:1 iPad environment beginning as a voluntary program in 2012, taking on all infrastructure obstacles head-on. With parent, student, and teacher feedback and support, iPads will then be a mandatory purchase for the 2013-2014 school year.

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