At the school board meeting on April 23, GCPS adopted an update to the division technology plan. As part of the updated plan the board adopted a couple new pilot programs to be implemented in the 2013-2014 school year.
BYOD – The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program will allow a small number of students to begin bringing their own devices to school for use in instruction. The technology team proposed allowing this new flexibility as an additional incentive for Seniors at GHS as trial run to see if we could support more students. Students in GHS and throughout the nation have expressed an interest in using tools available to them at home while in the classroom and that the lack of flexibility in the use of mobile devices at school could stifle their creativity. We also believe that this can promote “any time learning,” allowing students greater access content throughout the school day and beyond. We will not guarantee implementation at the beginning of the school year, but rather will entrust Mr. Newman (GHS principal) and the technology team to discuss best practices with teachers. We will continue to investigate network security issues and hope to announce a formal start date in the near future.
1:1 – The 1:1 pilot, also known as one-to-one, is a similar program; however, in this model the school division will provide mobile devices for every student (one device for each student, hence 1:1). Our pilot will provide an iPad mini for every student at Goochland Elementary School in select grades (currently proposed as Grades 3-5). We chose GES specifically, amongst other reasons, because of their proximity to our technology support specialists to be certain that we can maintain the infrastructure necessary to support a division-wide rollout in the future.
The pilot will also seek to examine an expanded role for Library Media Specialists as technology content specialists (new media) along their current focus on reading and literacy. We are funding this program in the pilot year solely with new regulations that allow us to purchase “electronic devices to operate textbooks” from the state textbook funds. We believe that if this pilot is successful, and as long as the state continues to fund the textbook line item, that we can maintain the funding to provide a mobile device for all students in grades 1-12 over a three year period following the pilot year.
Our pilot teachers will be provided training in creating content and accessing online textbooks for use on the iPad. Additionally, all new and recent textbook adoptions will give us options to access our textbooks online. Even though GES will be the school receiving these opportunities in year 1 (2013-2014), we plan to expand the program to select grades at RES, BES, and GMS in year 2.
THE NEXT GENERATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL TOOLS FOR THE 21st CENTURY STUDENT – Whereas these new instructional tools will require new teaching techniques and greater support, we believe that by 2018 all students will be demanding that regular instruction using the tools available to them at home will be an expectation of the modern classroom. Once again, Goochland will be on the cutting edge of teaching with technology; however, we will implement the programs slowly enough and with a focused evaluation to make sure that a full scale model is well thought out.
We are certainly excited that we can offer this opportunity to our children and we know that it will continue our path towards becoming the best school division, with the most innovative and effective instructional models, in Virginia.