AUBURN, Mass. — With plans under way to launch an iPad pilot program at Auburn Middle School, the school district has formed a 1:1 Digital Learning Implementation Team to explore initiatives to roll out districtwide.
The Auburn School Committee voted in full support of creating the team, which would include Director of Technology Eric Bouvier, the director of teaching, learning and curriculum and the director of pupil services as well as principals, teachers, parents and students.
Currently, the Fiscal Year 2014 draft budget supports the purchase of 60 iPads for a 1:1 program at the middle school. Educators are working to strengthen the plan as they go forward, Superintendent Maryellen Brunelle says.
The team would look into the benefits of moving in the direction of 1:1 technology implementation, which Brunelle said would consider educational impact first and foremost as well as costs.
"This is truly a teaching and learning initiative," said Bouvier. "What we are looking to do has the ability to transform classroom learning. While it is enabled by technology, the technology is just a piece of what we're talking about."
Although access to technology is more important than ever and students are craving it, the schools do not have enough labs, he said.
With 1:1 computing, every student would have access to a digital device, said Bouvier.
This could be accomplished through a "Bring Your Own Tech" model, in which students bring whatever device they have to use in class, or through a district-provided device.
"This creates not only equity, so everyone has the same device, but also allows teachers to ensure what the device can do and so everyone has the same capability," said Bouvier.
Whether it's through use of iPads, netbooks, laptops or Chrome Books, "It's important to remember devices don't drive this program, teaching and learning drive this program," Bouvier said.
He outlined benefits of such an implementation, including:
- Provides on-demand access to interactive and digital resources on the web.
- Increases opportunities for students with special needs, as iPads offer a variety of accessibility features.
- Increases project-based learning.
- Allows teachers to cater to learning styles of multiple students.
- Allows for digital delivery and submission of work.
- Promotes better 21st-century skills.
"It's so important that our students move forward in this area, because when they go to college they have to be ready," school committee member Elizabeth Gribbons said.