District 211 Board of Education Approves One-to-One Program Expansion

The program will now benefit up to 7,000 students

The program will now benefit up to 7,000 students.

After a successful implementation of the One-to-One pilot program during the first half of the 2012-2013 academic year, District 211 will expand the opportunity for an individual iPad device to more students in the coming year.

At its meeting on February 14, 2013, the Board of Education approved the expansion to provide up to 7,000 students with an iPad device for the upcoming school year. The use of iPads enhances student interaction and collaboration both inside and outside of the classroom.  Current teachers and students using the iPad devices have highlighted the ability for teachers to provide students with immediate feedback as a major benefit of the iPads in classrooms.

The One-to-One Program has increased collaboration between students and their peers, as well as with teachers.

The One-to-One Program has increased collaboration between students and their peers, as well as with teachers.

“Teachers are transforming their role as teachers and devising ways for students to create, produce, and demonstrate their own knowledge and content,” said Keith Sorensen, director of educational technology in District 211. “Throughout the pilot program, teachers report that the interest level and active engagement of students in the one-to-one classroom is notably high.”

The pilot program provided 1,500 students with the opportunity to use hand-held devices to enhance classroom interaction and collaboration with their teachers and peers. There were 37 teachers in the One-to-One Program, and the expansion will allow 60 additional teachers to transform their classrooms. So far, 85 teachers have applied to be involved for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Many teachers report that homework assignments are generally more creative using one-to-one technology.

Many teachers report that homework assignments are generally more creative using one-to-one technology.

The growth of the One-to-One Program is based on student and teacher feedback, survey results, and benefits they expressed in the program. Many students noted that they received more detailed feedback and quicker responses from their teachers overall. Using classroom portals, such as Schoology, students are able to communicate with their peers about homework and ask questions if they don’t quite understand a subject. Using Schoology as a classroom portal, these discussions can continue far after the student has left the classroom.

Teachers said using the One-to-One program has changed their classroom for the better, not only when it comes to assignments and homework, but also engaging students who historically were less interested in school. This includes students with learning challenges. Homework assignments were generally more creative using one-to-one technology, as well as more collaborative.

The use of iPads enhances student interaction and collaboration both inside and outside of the classroom.

The use of iPads enhances student interaction and collaboration both inside and outside of the classroom.

The National Staff Development Council reports school districts that implement new technology often encounters a dip in student academic performance throughout the first year. However, some District 211 teachers said students in the One-to-One Program had a higher proficiency score on the District’s Critical Learning Standards (CLS) in only four months compared to those in conventional classrooms. District CLS define what students should know and be able to demonstrate after the completion of their course.

Sorensen said reaching CLS and success with the program has revolved around continued reference of the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), which focus on six different points of instructional improvement through technology, such as creativity and innovation, and communication and collaboration. One-to-one methodology is also combined with Education Success Measures from Project RED, a national study of education technology to focus on student achievement and financial implications. Employing these methods is helping teachers reframe their classrooms and increase student success.

Using classroom portals, such as Schoology, students are able to communicate with their peers about homework and ask questions if they don’t quite understand a subject.

Using classroom portals, such as Schoology, students are able to communicate with their peers about homework and ask questions if they don’t quite understand a subject.

“Given the positive outcomes of the current year’s pilot program and both the knowledge and experience gained throughout the year, expanding the program will provide more students with the opportunity to benefit from the learning experiences made possibly by the individual iPad devices,” Sorensen said.

For more information about the history of the One-to-One pilot program, please visit the D211 Post article here. Information about the National Educational Technology Standards can viewed on its website, as well as Project RED here.




New Pilot Program Enhances Curriculum with Hand-Held Devices

As the world continues to advance, District 211 is determined to prepare students for their future and to stay ahead of the curve through an education that utilizes cutting-edge technology.

One-to-One pilot program

Students in the One-to-One program will have an Apple iPad 2 for the duration of their course.

This is why the Board of Education approved the One-to-One Electronic Device pilot program at its April 26 meeting, which will allow 1,500 District 211 students to have his or her personal electronic device to enhance classroom interaction and collaboration throughout the semester.

“Our students live in a world of unlimited information—and unlimited potential—if they can get to it,” said Daniel Cates, associate superintendent for administrative services. “The One-to-One pilot program will give students endless access to teachers, and a library card to the world.”

Students will be issued an Apple iPad 2 to use throughout the duration of their course, whether it’s in or out of the classroom. Teachers who are part of the One-to-One program will have a greater opportunity to reach their students on a more collaborative basis. For example, in a “flipped classroom” environment, teachers will post a video online the night before the next class. Students can then see a narrated video and summary of the content that will be covered in class.

“Students can watch a video the night before about the upcoming lesson, this way they can be introduced to the topic before entering classroom,” said Keith Sorensen, director of educational technology for District 211. “That isn’t the lesson, though. It just helps the lesson move faster and allows for students to think about questions beforehand.”

The pilot program includes nine different departments, and teachers who will teach more than 30 different courses with a varying spectrum of student ability. Administrators emphasize this program is not to reform the educational system already in place, but is a way to transform and improve the curriculum.

Each One-to-One teacher is familiar with the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) which focuses on six different points of instructional improvement through technology, such as creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making.

Sorensen said teachers will be using classroom portals, which is a way for students and parents to access homework assignments, classroom texts, practices tests, videos, forums to communicate with peers, and any other materials needed for the course. Additionally, students can electronically ask questions to other students or their teacher through forum-type communication, and some teachers have said they will have online office hours after school for students who aren’t available after the bell rings.

“The Internet has evolved to a point where communication and collaboration are now the focus of using the web.  Instead of just reading web pages and watching videos, students are collaborating with each other to create and share information,” Sorensen said.  “They work together to make their own videos, participate in science experiments, create online journals and blogs, and solve complex problems.  There is a great deal of pride that goes into work that the whole world will see.”

The overall goal of the program is to help students learn about better methods of accessing information and collaborating with their peers and teachers. Sorensen said he hopes this program teaches students to be independent learners before they enter the classroom. Cates reflects the sentiment.

“It goes beyond giving our students an iPad—it brings the curriculum alive,” Cates said. “It takes students who have never been out of Illinois to the streets of Arab spring, to a science lab on another continent and to transport them in history. Rather than just reading somebody else’s textbook, kids generate their own understanding of the world.”

For more information on the One-to-One Electronic Device program, please view the full report presented to the Board of Education on District 211’s BoardDocs website.