August 15, 2018 10:38:54 AM
Mary Pollitz - [email protected]
Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District will have 2,000 iPads within the next two months to help incorporate technology in the classroom.
During Tuesday night's regular meeting, the board approved the purchase of 40 carts for the 2,000 iPads and 40 Apple TVs for $127,158. Over the course of four years, SOCSD will pay $797,900 for the 2,000 iPads, which amounts to $199,475 annually through September 2021.
Superintendent Eddie Peasant said the district is working toward a one-to-one ratio for technology in the classroom.
The majority of the iPads will be at Armstrong Middle School, which houses sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students, but they will also be placed at Starkville High School and Henderson Ward Stewart Elementary.
"It's going to help with instruction and making learning more relevant," Peasant said. "That's our goal, giving students more real-life instruction and opportunities to learn using 21st century learning strategies."
The iPads will be school-based, meaning students will not take them home, but Peasant said the opportunities for online-learning are nearly limitless. Teachers will have opportunities for professional development before the iPads arrive and also throughout the school year to help incorporate technology with instruction.
"We feel that (teachers are) on-board with using new strategies and techniques for students," Peasant said. "We feel that they'll transition well as long as we're providing the support and training and professional development that they need."
During the July regular meeting, the board unanimously approved a Canvas Cloud subscription for about $90,000 over three years. Assistant Superintendent Christy Maulding said the learning management system will allow students access to a multitude of teaching mechanism including, discussion boards, lectures, notes and assignments.
"With our integration of the Canvas learning platform, they'll use this equipment to submit work and communicate with teachers," Peasant said. "There are several Apple education apps that will be available to teachers and students that are standard on the new iPads. We are excited to work with Apple because they have what I feel is a strong commitment to K12 education."
Maulding, who previously worked with a district who incorporated similar technology, said she has seen the both the negative and positive effects of technology education. She said the most important aspect is making sure teachers can coincide the iPads with instruction. The integration in the classroom would allow virtual dissections of frogs in science class, which allows students to coincide science and technology learning.
"One thing is having access to so much information," Maulding said. "I can access resources and information from across the globe. For students, some of which haven't been on vacations and haven't had the opportunity to travel to places and see and hear things, instantly through those devices they have access."
Maulding said the incorporation of technology in the classroom allows teachers the opportunity to teach students "mature and responsible" uses for technological devices. By integrating this with instruction, students would be able to benefit well after high school, she added.
"More and more we have virtual classes and virtual opportunities, but there are so many resources through iPads or MacBooks from multiple technologies that expose students to career opportunities that they will have when they graduate from high school," Maulding said. "It just opens up the types of activities that students can learn through that are more relevant and engaging. We are just excited about the opportunity it's going to give our kids."