Throughout the 2013-2014 school year I spent a significant amount of time and effort working with our district community technology team creating our three year technology plan. This school year it has been exciting to watch this plan come to life in our schools. Already this fall we have added over 3,000 new chromebooks to our schools. These devices combined with the 450 plus PC laptops that were added last school year have made mobile learning a reality throughout Worthington. This spring and next fall we will add even more mobile devices and we’ll reach our desired ratio of a mobile device for every two students.
Having this ratio in place will allow students to access technology on demand throughout the school day. In addition we are beginning to pilot our technology lending libraries at Slate Hill, Worthingway and Thomas Worthington. These pilots will allow students to take devices and 4G access points home to continue their learning outside of school. By next fall these libraries will be in all 19 school buildings.
Finally by 2017 our plan calls for 1:1 computing. Students bringing their own devices will be a major part of this plan. With this in mind Worthington Schools published a chromebook buying flyer for parents this holiday season. My family utilized this flyer and purchased each of our daughters a chromebook for Christmas.
As a family we’ve certainly been blessed and we can afford to make this investment in 24/7 learning. Already it has been very cool to watch from the parent’s perspective. Chromebooks are simple, powerful, education tools. On Christmas morning the chromebooks took three minutes to take out of the box and turn on. It took another 30 seconds for each girl to log into their unique wscloud account provided by Worthington Schools. (This is the same log-in they use everyday at school.) Once logged in, they had immediate access to all of their Google Apps for Education, documents, emails, slide presentations and the like.
Not only did they have GAFE access, but a Worthington Schools icon appears on the bottom left hand corner of each of the girl’s machine. With one simple click on that schoolhouse icon my girls have instant access to:
Brain Pop Jr
First in Math
Lexia Reading Core5
Nathional Geographic Kids
Vocabulary Spelling City.com
It’s all right there! As a parent this is the single greatest present in the world! (Thank you Keith Schlarb!!!) Not only can my daughters access a wealth of curriculum based practice and learning sites, as a parent I didn’t have to find all these sites. The sites were already there! (I did have to find some passwords which in our house we struggle to keep straight.) By 8:30 A.M. on Christmas morning I had three daughters logged into education apps, happily learning while Doreen and I were drinking coffee. Let me repeat, I didn’t have to do anything. The Worthington Schools technology team found each app, located it in one handy icon, and added the apps to all wscloud student accounts so they have instant access from any device they log into. It’s a Christmas Miracle!
Technology is a tool to personalize learning and engage students in 2014. The best 1:1 learning is still with the teacher in the classroom. But on this Christmas morning I saw a glimpse of the future and the present all together. I saw first hand how technology will aid student learning and how the school district can partner with families to help make this happen in a simple, yet powerful way.
If your student logs into their wscloud account and you see the Worthington schoolhouse icon, don’t be afraid to click on it. It’s awesome!