By Lindie Schweitzer
Coordinator of Educational Technology
The District’s one to one device initiative continues to be a success and I am happy to share, all students in Grades 6-10 now have their own district issued device.
Students in grades 6, 7, 9, & 10 are issued Chromebooks and families contribute a $40 technology fee. This technology fee covers maintenance of the machine and a one time full replacement, if needed. Sixth graders keep their Chromebooks throughout middle school before turning them back in to receive a new machine as a freshman. At the high school level, students can keep their Chromebooks upon graduation. The device students receive is a Chromebook 3189 for Education, the 2-in-1 laptop to tablet conversion comes with a sealed, spill-resistant keyboard, rubberized edges and Drop Protection, so it can withstand lockers, lunchrooms, and buses. With at least 10 hours of battery life, this Chromebook will get students through even the longest school days.
Devices in and of themselves however, do not necessarily move the educational needle. At the middle and high school level, we are integrating more and more blended learning, which incorporates interactive online learning with traditional classroom learning. Blended learning does not mean less instructional time, but rather it provides more interactive and digital learning experiences.
Schoology continues to serve as the District’s Learning Management System (LMS) at the secondary level. Teachers use Schoology to post assignments, calendars, and provide students with feedback. Students use Schoology to turn in paperless assignments, view resource videos assigned by the teacher, collaborate with students, and stay up to the minute on their assignments.
We are also providing our staff with professional development on these tools. Our technology learning coaches are focusing this year on social studies and science content areas. We are educating teachers on how to convert their instructional delivery into a blended learning style. By 2020, the District expects to offer blended learning experiences at the secondary level in order to free up time for our students to have internships and work experiences during the work day.
In addition to devices, technology is allowing us to scale back purchases of hard copy textbooks. At the secondary level, we are buying very few hard copies of textbooks for the 2018-2019 school year. Full versions of the textbooks are located online and linked to students’ Schoology accounts. We also provide these online textbooks in multiple languages.
At the new Emerald Campus, you will see 75-inch televisions throughout the building. You may wonder, what use do those have in education? These TVs are the most cost effective alternative to projectors come with a built in Chromecast. Chromecasts allows teachers to “broadcast” their lessons to the class and gives the opportunities to make real-time edits. Unlike projectors, these TVs have no bulbs to replace and have a longer shelf life of 12-14 years.
Immersing our students in technology is an important part of the Dublin Difference. We are preparing students, especially our youngest students, for jobs that do not yet exist. The Bridge Park Cooperative Agreement with the City of Dublin provides us with a dedicated revenue stream of $1.5-million per year earmarked for technology. The issue residents will be deciding on this fall also contains significant dollars for technology to ensure our students are using the most up to date equipment. The District has been partnering with Ohio State and Columbus State to ensure we are aligned with what students at those institutions experience with technology so our students are prepared for the world of higher education.