The Huron Valley School District is in the early stages of coming up with ways to bring technology into the classroom so each student’s learning is tailored to his or her academic needs.
“It’s centered around our mission of inspiring and building futures one student at a time, and technology offers that opportunity to differentiate programming because students learn at a different pace and technology personalizes that programming,” said Board of Education President Sean Carlson.
An ad hoc technology committee has been formed comprised of school board members, teachers, district administration, information technology (IT) staff, and parents.
The plan is to pilot technology strategies at the middle school level before expanding the concepts to other buildings.
“This is the perfect recipe for innovation to take place,” Carlson said. “We don’t have the economic resources to do it everywhere and since we have a foothold in the middle schools with 21st century learning, we want to wire up these buildings and start there.”
The district implemented the “teaming” approach in the middle schools last year as part of its 21st century educational effort. As part of the teaming approach, students work closely with four teachers who collaborate.
The committee is still in the early stages of planning strategies, but is focusing on four primary areas: Infrastructure needs, professional development, technology in the classroom, and leveraging data.
“We need to determine how to capture assessment test and leverage data on each student to see if they understand, and how to intervene to help students with learning,” Carlson said. “Technology will help teachers identify the needs quicker — not only (for) those (who are) failing, but those that need to be stretched and to be able to continue to push gifted kids.”
One idea up for discussion is having kids bring in their own devices to enhance learning in the classroom.
“This is still in the discussion phase and we have no determination of what direction we’re going to go,” Carlson said. “If they bring in their own then it would cost less, but there are kids who can’t afford it.”
Carlson said some school districts work out a three-year lease arrangement for equipment. After that agreement expires, the student would own the device.
The crux of the initiative is innovation.
“It’s all about digitizing the classroom and embedding technology in the four core study areas,” Carlson said.
Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Nancy Coratti said the concept is to expand on what tools students use to maximize their potential.
“The relevant piece is that kids are so used to being plugged in and we want to take advantage of this,” Coratti said.