August 10, 2014 at 11:55 PM
WARREN, NJ - In anticipation of the 2014-2015 school year, the Warren Township Schools’ Technology Team and Administrators have been preparing for the Chromebook rollout in grades 5 and 6, quick to follow grade 7 which was accomplished last winter.
Chromebooks rolled out to last years 6th graders in January.
And Chromebooks can print.
Staff are supportive and eager for the continuation of the technology initiative. During the strategic planning process, which began in September of 2012, initiated by Superintendent Tami Crader and the Board of Education, technology had been identified as one of the five main topics of focus. The Strategic Plan, meant to guide the Board of Education and Administrators, will continue to be instrumental in directing resources and developing programs over the next few years.
In addition to annual summer projects such as upgrading the network and servers, and installing and updating computers in the school labs, the Technology Team launched its second wave of 1:1 Chromebooks.
Access points were established in each of the following four elementary schools: Angelo L. Tomaso School, Central School, Mt. Horeb School, and Woodland School allowing wireless devices onto a network in all of the 5th grade classrooms.
Based upon class rosters, Chromebooks will be assigned to each student in 5th and 6th grade. The Acceptable Use Policy was updated and will be sent to families via InfoSnap mid-August.
“The decision to move to Chromebooks had less to do with devices, and more to do with the benefits they provide the student body,” said Superintendent Crader.
Quality apps and cloud technology will allow students to collaborate with peers, and they will be able to get feedback from their teachers at a much faster rate. “These are both valued and desired; timely and constructive feedback affects student achievement and working in the 21st century requires collaboration.”
The administrative team, staff, and parents within Warren have been supportive.
Warren Township Schools’ goal is to develop students’ technological fluency so instructional outcomes can be achieved through various tools. Working together, teachers and administrators plan to create opportunities in the content areas to engage students in real world projects.
Teachers have clear expectations to communicate to students about digital literacy. They have identified multiple areas within the curriculum where Chromebooks can support students’ learning. It is their belief that all students will demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
Students will use digital media to communicate and work collaboratively. It is critical that they apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information as they conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions. Staff also are looking forward to working as a team with colleagues and plan to model the use of Google resources for students.
Four professional development opportunities have been scheduled throughout the year to further enhance the success of the technology initiative. Staff are excited to continue to expand their teaching repertoire. From an education standpoint, managing the work of so many students has always been a priority. Using Google, or similar student management capacities, will streamline the process and increase efficiency for all.
Being able to utilize devices asynchronously will impact interactions amongst students as they research and explore, at a breadth and depth foreign to many just one generation ago. They will be able to complete daily assignments and long-term projects, as well as engage in enrichment learning and 21st century scenarios, all thanks to these technological experiences and opportunities. An added bonus is that the Chromebooks will help with PARCC testing, while keeping the targets as 21st century learning and student achievement.
Warren Township schools are gearing up for PAARC.
Technology Coaches at each building have been a key component in providing job embedded staff development to support their colleagues. As the coaches embark on a new school year, they can tailor their support and training based on the needs of many educators and support staff. Having consistent training ultimately reinforces the core goals, similar to having standardized equipment in each building.
In step with the Chromebook distribution, which is on schedule for a September delivery, parents of students in grades 5-6 will be invited to attend an information session during the week of September 8.
Specific details will be eBlasted and posted on the Warren Township Board of Education Facebook page as the dates near. All students will participate in a Digital Citizenship presentation in September as well. The school district is grateful to have the support of the parents and the community, as these endeavors will ultimately have a positive impact on the future of our students.