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5/15/2018

Before transformative change can occur in a school system, the culture must be ready for it. Fostering a culture where new ideas are welcomed, risks are taken and failures are learned from will enable innovation to flourish and lay the groundwork for the success of any initiative.

At the Arcadia USD in California, administrators have created a thriving culture of innovation for all staff and students. Initiating a 1:1 program, piloting a Personalized Learning Lab school, implementing a new approach to PD and creating a digital communication internship are just a few examples.

The Pennsbury School District in Pennsylvania has embarked on a wide ranging Future Ready initiative, seeking to provide ubiquitous access to technology for its 10,500 students while creating a culture of digital, personalized teaching and learning. The initiative included replacing outdated desktops and shared laptop carts with 1:1 Chromebooks and updating the district’s technology infrastructure. Crucial to its success, has been taking an inclusive approach to ensure that the perspectives of all members of the community were included in developing the initiative.

4/5/2018

Planning, implementing and maintaining large-scale district technology initiatives can be difficult, particularly when budgets are tight and IT departments are understaffed. But by involving students in leading these efforts, districts are able to address their technology personnel needs while providing students with expanded real-world learning opportunities.

3/6/2018

The Pennsbury School District in Pennsylvania has embarked on a wide ranging Future Ready initiative, seeking to provide ubiquitous access to technology for its 10,500 students while creating a culture of digital, personalized teaching and learning.

At the fast-growing Manor Independent School District located outside of Austin, Texas, over 38 percent of students are English language learners. These students are expected to master the same standards as their native English-speaking peers. Meredith Roddy, Director of Bilingual and ESL Programs, is tasked with closing the achievement gap between ELL students and native English-speaking students.

“I think of it as an opportunity,” says Roddy. “It’s about finding the right resources to engage ELL students with language and content area learning.”

David Liss was seeing a unique challenge when it came to implementing 1-to-1 technology for the 6,200 students in Nixa Public Schools, one of the top-performing districts in Missouri.

“One of the things that kept coming up for us was there wasn’t data to support the premise that 1-to-1 technology increased student performance,” says Liss, who is Nixa’s executive director of technology. “In lower-performing districts, the data showed that 1-to-1 technology was increasing engagement, which was increasing student performance.”

The past two decades have seen 1-to-1 computing grow in popularity, with school districts across the country deploying millions of laptops and tablets to students, excited by their potential to enhance learning. But unfortunately, with the trend came the reality that many school systems didn’t adequately plan, prepare for or sustain their 1-to-1 initiatives, and failed to see positive impacts as a result. Why do some 1-to-1 initiatives succeed and others fail?

Six years ago, Waconia Public Schools, which is 35 miles west of Minneapolis, launched a 1-to-1 technology initiative. It purchased tablets as part of a pilot program for 10th-grade students. 

After determining that the pilot program was successful, the district expanded it to include students in fourth, eighth and 11th grades. At that point, the district realized that this was not a sustainable program for the long term. 

In the Ventura USD in California, one low-achieving middle school at risk of closure was instead transformed into the De Anza Academy of Technology and the Arts (DATA), a high-achieving magnet school. A significant component in DATA’s dramatic turnaround has been its innovative project-based and collaborative learning environments and makerspaces, which employ technology as a central component. 

High-tech California school plugs into StudySync® for content and student engagement

Robert C. Fisler School serves 960 K8 students in the suburban Fullerton School District in Orange County, California. Second- through eighth-grade students participate in the school’s 1-to-1 laptop program, which has been in place since the school opened in August 2004.

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