As a school corporation, South Dearborn has a adopted a Technology Plan to implement cutting-edge technology tools including 1:1 Devices, Wireless Connectivity, Digital Curriculum, and personalized learning for students.
Our vision is to create a more interactive, project-based curriculum with personalized learning opportunities for our students.
Why Implement 1:1 Learning?
The rationale behind our desire to implement 1:1 and a digital learning plan across all grade levels is focused on student learning and providing our students competitive advantages they deserve as they prepare for future education and work. Our classrooms and learning strategies need to change to prepare our students for their future and not our past. We are preparing our students for careers of tomorrow that we can't even imagine.
Why Implement Digital Curriculum?
It is out of necessity that we make the transition from a traditional learning model to a digital learning model from both a student learning and institutional perspective.
We must change not only to survive but, more importantly to remain relevant to the students we serve. This involves a movement from a traditional teacher led learning model to a student centered, constructivist, project-based learning model that leverages 21st century productivity tools, digital content and curriculum, and learning management systems.
We are planning to implement a blended learning model that combines the best of online learning with the best of face-to-face instruction. Learning will become more personalized and, paradoxically, more collaborative, as well. Great teachers already do this with or without technology or digital content or curriculum.
What are the Technology Goals?
For the past year, our leadership team has been meeting weekly to define our priorities and to develop a coherent school vision and goals. The top goals that have emerged from our work are:
• Create a 21st Century learning environment for our students and teachers.
• Create more personalized and interactive learning opportunities for our students.
• Make instruction more relevant to the student learner.
• Increase student achievement for all groups of students.
• Better use data to inform instructional practices.
Curriculum and Instruction
We believe textbooks are insufficient when used in isolation. We want our students to have daily access to relevant, accurate, and interactive content that support learner mastery of the Common Core and other curriculum standards.
Over the past year, classroom teachers have devoted extensive time to creating digital learning activities, curating digital resources, and connecting learners to material and to each other. We use My Big Campus (MBC) as our primary launch pad for digital learning. All classroom teachers have classroom group pages and use MBC as their home for content, assessments, enrichment, and social media activities.
Also critical to the success of our instructional program is the use of several cloud-based software such as Google Docs, My Big Campus, Edmentum, Study Island, Plato, Reading Eggs and Renaissance Place. SDCSC uses a combination of both free and paid software subscriptions. The list of educational software used by SDCSC is an ever-changing as needs are identified and as new software is made available.
Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year South Dearborn High School students will each carry an HP Chromebook. They will use this device at school in every class and take it home in order to extend the classroom beyond the school walls.
The technology initiative is rolling into the high school and elementary schools in a variety of formats. All of these students have access to traditional desktop computer labs and each school has between one and four carts of thirty laptops which are used to integrate technology directly into the classroom without having to travel to the traditional computer lab. SDHS students may also have access to classroom sets of iPads depending on which school they attend.
Our district plan is to increase digital opportunities to our high school and elementary students as soon as funding allows. We are currently seeking grants to help begin the 1:1 implementation at South Dearborn High School and our elementary schools.
To support their 21st century learning, many teachers carry either school-issued laptops or Chromebooks. Many elementary teachers also have school-issued iPads. In addition to school-issued devices, many teachers bring in their own technology (most often iPads) in order to leverage it in their classroom and improve instruction. This shows the dedication of our faculty towards integrating technology into the classroom in order to increase student achievement.
As SDCSC secures the necessary funding there will be less and less teacher-owned technology in the classrooms because they all teachers will have school-issued devices at their disposal. All SDCSC classrooms have overhead digital projectors which are very helpful in bringing digital learning opportunities to students not yet in 1:1 device grade levels. Several classrooms throughout the district also have document cameras, smartboards and student response systems.
Instructional transformation does not occur simply by handing a teacher a mobile device. The goal of professional development at SDCSC is to support teachers as 21st century learners and to increase teacher effectiveness and student learning by maximizing digital learning opportunities.
SDCSC has recently formed a strategic partnership with Five-Star Technology Solutions to provide technology integration services to the faculty of SDCSC. This partnership will allow us to offer virtually unlimited professional development opportunities to our faculty in a variety of formats. Professional development will be conducted both onsite as well as online. SDCSC will work in conjunction with Five-Star to create a comprehensive professional development plan based on the specific needs of each and every teacher. The signing of this agreement represents the commitment of SDCSC to helping our teachers make student learning experiences the most relevant, successful experience possible.