Dodge City Middle School (DCMS) held a Digital Parent Night on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The presentation focused on how the school will implement the distribution of more than 700 Apple iPads tablet computers as part of a district-wide initiative.
“Not only are we deploying mobile devices to every student, we are designing ways that students can become independent, self sufficient learners,” Principal Mike King said at the presentation.
Dodge City Middle School (DCMS) held a Digital Parent Night on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The presentation focused on how the school will implement the distribution of more than 700 Apple iPads tablet computers as part of a district-wide initiative. “Not only are we deploying mobile devices to every student, we are designing ways that students can become independent, self sufficient learners,” Principal Mike King said at the presentation. Aside from Principal King’s remarks, the presentation was given entirely by students. It focused on the school’s commitment to technology training, digital citizenship and its own technology support center. The presentation was one of several “Parent Academies” held by the school at least once per month that focus on different topics. Tuesday’s topic was chosen in wake of the school’s changing use of technological practices. “Parents need to be aware of how we’re going to use [technology] in education,” King said. As part of the One to One Initiative, all of DCMS’ more than 700 students will receive an iPad in January. In order to prepare students and faculty for the distribution, the school has implemented a series of measures to make the transition as seamless as possible. One of these has been the implementation of mobile learning classes, where students are given the opportunity to spend at least one semester using a mobile device for creative writing and problem solving. Students also make use of the school’s computer labs every other day, where they learn about digital citizenship and appropriate use of technology with regards to things such as password security, use of social networks, sharing personal information and cyber bullying. Teachers are also being trained for the school’s next technological transition. Every other Tuesday they are given the opportunity to undergo iPad training. In September DCMS initiated an IT support team comprised entirely of students. The team answers questions and troubleshoots technical problems. They have also developed a website and created instructional videos. According to King, the decision to create a student IT team was made to facilitate the learning process for students. It was also made to have technology experts in the classroom available to help students when a teacher might not have time. Students will beta test the new mobile devices and will also participate in an orientation prior to the full implementation of the iPad initiative. So far students have been trained to use a number of the “apps” on the iPads including Google Docs, Google Apps and Google Drive. Students have used the iPads for writing, blogging and problem solving. iPads can also be used by teachers to receive assignments and send them back to students with feedback, a process that has already taken place in some classrooms. The students already have access to technology through the computer lab, but the new initiative will allow them to have access to a computer device the entire time they are in school. DCMS is no stranger to technology. All of the school’s classrooms are already equipped with smart boards, which are primarily used for interactive in-class demonstrations. Teachers also use the school’s Skyword program to report grades and attendance. But King says that with the iPads the school hopes to deepen learning for the students and provide another outlet for information storing and creativity. “It’s not going to replace good instruction,’ King said. “… What technology does is provide us avenues for additional information to be accessed, ways to store that information and ways to share that information in a real world environment.”