Students, teachers and districts benefit from digital shift - Tech Learning

Students, teachers and districts benefit from digital shift

 The December 2009 study found that 40 percent of publishers are repurposing content for digital platforms, up from 25 percent in 2008.
Publish date:

 Recent research by the Association of Educational Publishers confirms that many publishers are shifting their resources away from print. The December 2009 study found that 40 percent of publishers are repurposing content for digital platforms, up from 25 percent in 2008. Across the U.S., many schools districts are also looking closely at using digital technology in place of traditional print materials. Three brief profiles demonstrate a variety of reasons – economic, pedagogic and practical - that going digital may benefit a district.

Lorain City Schools (Lorain, Ohio)

An inner-city school district with out-of-date textbooks, a wide technology gap at school and at home and a large budget deficit proved a challenging environment for a pilot program in digital content and one-to-one computing. Despite those challenges, Lorain City Schools Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson and her team understood that technology integration in education is essential to students’ future success.

“Providing students with Acer netbooks and digital content has improved their grades and brought parental participation to a level that I have not seen in an urban environment – to say nothing of the substantial cost savings,” said Atkinson.

Atkinson explained that the district had three driving goals: provide students with a solid foundation of technology, provide equal access to that technology and replace its textbooks with a more flexible option. Working with CDW-G, provider of technology solutions to educational institutions and government agencies, the district was able to image the netbooks and ensure that students had access to the district’s catalog of digital content. CDW-G offers schools a comprehensive guide on moving to digital content.

The pilot program at Lorain City Schools, which began with grades six, nine and 10, has expanded to span grades six through 11 and 4,700 students.

Campbell Union High School District (San Jose, Calif.)

Campbell Union High School District
began its digital content pilot in January 2010 with 260 Sony Readers in its English, English as a second language and special education courses.

“First we quantified the true cost of textbooks, including replacement costs, to develop a baseline on which to evaluate the move to digital content,” said Charles Kanavel, technology director, Campbell Union High School District. “Our original goal was to reduce our spending on textbooks, which we were able to do.”

While the district is still in the early phases of implementation, it is already planning to expand its pilot to include history and science courses.

Hunterdon Central School District (Flemington, NJ)

The first investment Hunterdon Central School District made into a shift towards digital content was not the purchase of netbooks. In fact, the pilot program of 600 students was the culmination of five years of professional development geared toward shifting the way the district’s teachers learned.

“The foundation of our pilot program lies in professional development,” said Rob Mancabelli, director of information systems, Hunterdon Central. “We are retraining our teachers to learn in a digital environment. Only then can they begin to teach students using those tools.”

With the new pedagogical base firmly laid, Hunterdon Central distributed the 600 netbooks to students in September 2009. The district included a cross-section of students in general education, special education and advanced placement (AP) courses and a wide-range of subjects and grades.

To measure students’ progress, the district is using benchmarks to assess problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills and student initiative. “Since implementing the digital content program, students have markedly improved in all of the benchmark areas,” Mancabelli said.

In response to the pilot’s success, Hunterdon plans to expand the pilot program and eventually develop a model that includes all of the district’s 3,200 students.



Vermont district benefits from special education program

 Rutland City Public Schools, a Vermont district of six schools, strives to do the best for "every student, every day," as its mission statement avers. But how does a small district with a restricted budget do its best for those students who need additional or special attention?

Student, Teachers Benefit with $5,000 Scholarship promo image

Student, Teachers Benefit with $5,000 Scholarship

 This $5,000 scholarship is awarded to one graduating high school senior that plans to attend an accredited four year university and shows a desire to make a positive impact on the world through his or her education.

Preschoolers Benefit from 1,000 Computer Centers

 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S. population is also the most likely to drop out of high school.  What's more, they are also highly underrepresented in technical and engineering professions, according to the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. That's why IBM is spearheading an effort to promote education within the Hispanic community.

Lake County Schools Goes Digital District-Wide

Lake County Schools has chosen SAFARI Montage’s Digital Learning Platform – Digital Curriculum Presenter™ – and integrated Learning Object Repository to manage the district’s digital learning resources.

NC District Adopts Digital Social Studies Textbook

Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) and Discovery Education announced today an expansion of their partnership that brings Discovery Education’s digital social studies textbook to middle school classrooms district wide.