Tri States Public Radio Staff
Thu March 1, 2012
Schuyler-Industry Classrooms Going Digital
High school teachers in the Schuyler-Industry School District will soon embark on a year-long assignment.
It's tied to the district's plans to begin a one-to-one program in the Fall of 2013. Every high school student will be provided with either a lap-top or tablet. The district is still deciding which device to use.
Superintendent Mat Plater said before the devices can be used by students, teachers must get comfortable with them and learn how to best use them in the classroom.
"It's going to be a big change when you have 20 or 30 year veteran teachers that have taught a certain way for a very long time," Plater said.
He said other school districts that have made the shift recommend a year of training for teachers.
Plater said the district has spent the past year getting the infrastructure in place for the new devices.
The district also intends to go electronic with all its textbooks, "...so that all the kids have all their books all the time on their device," Plater said.
Plater said studies have shown digital classrooms improve learning and test scores. He agrees this is the way today's students learn.
"You don't have to look any further than their cell phones to figure that out."
Plater said one challenge the district will face with the program is the lack of Internet service at home for many students.
"We have to be very careful in making this shift and this transition. The textbooks have to be downloadable so that they're on the device and not just a web-based version," Plater said.
He believes the shift to project-based learning on digital devices will eventually be implemented district-wide. Middle school teachers will also be provided with devices and training for the next year if there is enough money available.