Some changes are sparking up at Davis Public Schools.
The district has been steadily adding more technology to their classrooms since last year, including classroom sets of Chromebooks, Apple TVs in classrooms, and a section of the new high school’s library that may eventually be used for remote concurrent classes. Superintendent Mark Moring said the school has a grant through T Mobile that helped purchase Chromebooks for students from fifth to 12th grade.
“Our students need to learn different platforms,” Moring said. “They need to learn Google, they need to learn iPads. When they go on to college or a career, technology is integrated into everything.”
Moring said because some students don’t have internet access at home, the middle and high school have roughly 220 hotspots available for checkout, so students can take the devices home to study and work on assignments.
“We just passed out teacher iPads,” Moring said. “We’re waiting for our mobile device management system to get up and running so we can manage the 325 iPads at one computer.”
Moring said the district has added Chromebook training, as well as training for other online resources like Google Classroom, to make the most of the new technology. Google Classroom lets teachers post lessons, message students, receive homework and grade assignments among other things. Teachers can also use the program to leave assignments for substitute teachers and videos for students.
“If I’m a student and I type an assignment in Google Docs, then a teacher can go in and look at the revision history,” Moring said. “You can see how long the student worked on it, and if three paragraphs of information pop up (at the same time), well then obviously it was cut and paste.”
Lower grades are receiving class sets of iPads. In addition to the devices, teachers will use Apple TV in their classrooms. They’ll be able to share their iPad screen on the TV during lessons.
“It gives the power of learning to the students,” Moring said. “The kids can explore. Teachers will have the lessons for them, but they can be active and engaged in the learning process.”
The new Davis High School library has a large conference room with movable furniture, and outlets, so students can charge their electronics without leaving the area. Moring said the room can serve multiple purposes, but he hopes to one day hold concurrent classes remotely in the space. For now, concurrent students and students who travel between Southern Tech and the school can use the space for projects.
“I really want this to be the hub of the whole school,” Moring said.
Last year, the district adopted digital math textbooks, though most classrooms still keep a hardcopy class set. He said the district may continue replacing physical copies with e-books, but it depends on what textbook companies are offering.
“That’s the way most book companies are going now,” Moring said. “If it’s compatible, and our teachers think it will be beneficial to our students, well then, that’s what we’ll do.”
Moring said subscriptions to digital textbooks aren’t actually much more cost-effective than hardcopy books in the long run.