The first iPads arrive: Celebrating a new era of personalized learning
The long-anticipated arrival of the first iPads in the district's 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative took place throughout the day on Monday, Sept. 24 in 16 classrooms at Westwood Intermediate School and Westwood Middle School. This significant milestone was celebrated as the schools took time to thank the community for its support of a 2011 technology levy, acknowledge those who worked so hard to finally make Initiative a reality after years of preparation, and to enjoy the enthusiasm of students as a new era of personalized learning was about to begin.
Teacher Lead Learners from each school were identified as the first to receive training in the use of these technology tools, and they will be the first to use them with their students. In Phase I, over 500 students from these two Westwood schools become the first to begin using iPads in their classrooms. More will soon follow.
Monday, Sept. 24 was the first in a carefully planned multi-phase roll-out of this initiative which by February will put an iPad in the hands of each student in grades 3-12, and provide access to an iPod Touch for learners in grades K-2. Information about the roll-out to the rest of the district's students can be found here.
At Westwood Middle School on Monday, students gathered each hour in the Team Teaching Room to watch a fun video about the journey of the iPads to Westwood, and to hear principal Paula Hoff talk about the significance of the day, and the responsibility student had in taking full advantage of this new opportunity to learn. "Today is an exciting day," she said. How your teachers teach, and how you learn will never be the same!" Students then returned to their classrooms where they received their first exposure to iPads including expectations and rules. In several classes, students were already taking a quiz using the iPads, with instantaneous results delivered to their new devices.
In presentations to students at Westwood Intermediate School, principal Tom Larson also showed a video portraying the journey to Westwood of these new educational tools, and presented student with a symbolic apple to mark the occasion. Students received their iPads, their first orientation, and in short order they were in use, with one class already taking a spelling pretest on the new devices.
In efforts unmatched by most school districts, the Spring Lake Park School District prepared for Monday's Phase I launch by upgrading its fiber network ten-fold and installing 346 wireless access points, provided extensive training to Teacher Lead Learners, hosting 31 summer training sessions to orient teachers to their new technology tools, and creating its own Digital Toolkit of resources and apps for teachers and students. More information on the 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative.