In the real world, Internet enabled devices are used everyday, by A LOT of people, in a variety of situations. In fact, people seem to be more connected today than at any other time. Beaufort County School District (BCSD) began a 1:1 iPad program last school year in Grades 6-8 and is working to expand the program this school year. Last week, principals and district leadership spent time with education technology expert Jeff Utecht and this week district leadership and coaches began working with all 3rd grade teachers in the district in what we have termed, Tech Visioning PD Days. Our Tech Visioning PD days are intended to provide initial training to teachers preparing for our 1:1 expansion as well as a chance to “rally back” to our core beliefs and continual training for teachers currently in the program.
I have been very pleased to be able to spend time with teachers this week, and I look forward to the weeks ahead, as they receive additional training to prepare for expanding our 1:1 program to eventually include all 14,600+ students in our district grades 3-12. I have been very impressed and motivated by the depth of conversation, questions, and insights shared by teachers over the first few days of training. Indeed, BCSD is blessed with some amazing educators. Educators who are wiling to embrace change and carry out the difficult work of educating children everyday.
Truly, we live in an amazing time. Technology has allowed unbelievable amounts of information to be at our fingertips and to be accessed in literally seconds. As we continue to support our current 1:1 program and its expansion, we need to remember that it is not about the device. Rather, it is about how the device is used to increase student understanding, creation, critical thinking and collaboration.
As educators, we must continually reflect on our work to ensure that our students are prepared to be successful in a globally competitive career marketplace. To that end, students need to be appropriately taught and provided opportunities to safely, ethically, and effectively use technology to gain understanding at the highest levels of any taxonomy (Blooms, Webb’s DOK etc.). Such a use of the device aligns to what Alan November described as a Digital Learning Farm model. In the model, teachers “guide students in the complex tasks of innovation and problem solving, and in doing work that makes a contribution to the learning processes of others” (November, 2012, p. 18).
BCSD 1:1 Technology Program Overview: