Director of Technology
Perhaps you have heard that Ferris I.S.D. is about to embark on a new learning initiative that will involve providing technology to all students. Those of us in the education world call this a one-to-one (techies call it 1:1). This means that every student in grades one through twelve will have access to a device every single day.
What does going to a 1:1 look like in the classroom? This means that students who are in grades 6-12 will be given a laptop computer that is called a chromebook. Students will be able to take these home and work on assignments, message their teacher for help, or even work on group projects with other students at the same time. Even if a student’s home does not have internet service, the chromebook has the capability to download assignments and allow the student to work on them. Once the student re-enters the school’s wireless internet umbrella, the student will be able to upload their assignment to their teacher’s site.
Teachers will also be able to utilize the flipped classroom model which means that they could assign a short video for students to watch at home and then students come to class with prior knowledge that will help them better understand the concept that is being taught that day. Ferris I.S.D. is also excited about the fact that many teachers will be using a program called Google Classroom where students will be able to participate in online discussion groups with their teachers and classmates, work on collaborative projects, view videos, and turn in assignments. Think of it as the central hub for the classroom. If a student is at home and confused about an assignment, they can pull up the instructional video or other resources that the teacher provided and they will have instant access to the learning.
Next year, every fourth and fifth grader will have a chromebook that they will be able to use at school, but they will not be taking them home. Every first through third grader will have an iPad to use in class each day. Ferris ISD believes that it is important for students to be able to utilize multiple platforms for technology.
This is also what has motivated investigations into equipping Ferris Intermediate and Ferris Junior High with Smart labs. Smart labs are classrooms that are designed to encourage all students to pursue higher order thinking. The Smart labs promote S.T.E.M.(science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning opportunities for all students and would also be the creation station for our Gifted and Talented students. A team of educators from Ferris will be visiting seven Smart labs next week to explore whether or not the Smart lab is the perfect solution for developing our students’ 21st century skills.
Ultimately, we want you to know that we realize that technology is a tool, not a learning outcome. We are not attempting to replace the teacher and we will continue to value the importance of effective instruction and the need for students to experience a healthy and nurturing school environment.
Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Q: Is it necessary for us to have an Internet connection at home for my child to do their school work?
A: While having and Internet connection is the best scenario, it is NOT absolutely necessary. Most of the assignments will be able to be accomplished without the need of an Internet connection. Teachers will be advised and know what assignments will be able to be done without the use of the Internet.
Q: How will the school ensure that my child does not go to inappropriate websites on their school issued device?
A: Ferris ISD is bound by the CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) law which requires the school district to ensure that a CIPA certified web content filter is in place while students are at the school. However, the Ferris ISD will go a step further to ensure that your student has the same filtering while away from school as he/she has while at school.
Q: Will my student be on the computer all the time? Will it be a baby sitter?
A: No! The device that will e issued to your student will be used to enhance his/her learning experience. This program is a different way of learning, not a magic bullet. Students will have time on the devices and time off of the devices.
Q: Will it cost me anything for my student to be issued a device?
A: Normally, there would be a nominal technology usage fee of $20 assessed by the district. HOWEVER, this fee will be waived for ALL students for the 2016-2017 school year. There will be more information concerning insurance, damage fees, and parent/guardian and student responsibilities released soon. We will begin having those meetings in late July or early August.
Welcome to the 1:1 Technology Page!
Video by Allen Oliver from the April 7, 1:1 Meeting
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