By David Meade
Anderson School District One teachers and students are using the latest technology for both learning in the classroom and for training teachers. During a recent Anderson School District One Board meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, Jane Harrison presented information on the new technology being introduced in the district.
Harrison said the district recently acquired new IPads and related apps which are being used for student instruction. The District has 356 IPads with approximately 200 teachers already using the new technology in the classroom, she said.
A new device management system called Airwatch allows teachers to rollout apps wirelessly to the devices and teachers can lock them so they can only be used for the instruction that is being presented at the time.
Harrison said the IPads are already being used in all schools except one.
Candace Shockley, a self Contained Special Ed Teacher at Palmetto Middle is one of the teachers using the IPads.
According to Harrison, Shockley stated the apps meet the needs of all her learners as she teaches ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, Daily Living Skills Activities, Vocational Skills Development and Personal Development Skills.
A new technology called “Blackboard” is being used which allows training and instructional courses to be taken online. There can also be live virtual meetings through it, Harrison said.
As part of the presentation to the board, Harrison said: “The current generation of students was born into a highly technological world. They in habit, navigate and communicate within a society which is both technologically-rich and information rich.”
Harrison said the world is changing and the job market is changing with half the jobs available today requiring technology skills. That number is expected to be 77 percent in the next decade, she said.
“Our technology is changing, our way to access information is changing and our ability to contribute is changing. Our classroom is changing,” she said.
Harrison said the District is providing a necessary set of competencies to embed into a rigorous curriculum including critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity with an aptitude for technology.
“It is critical we understand that a one to one implementation is about improving student achievement and motivating students to learn,” Harrison said. “this is not a technology initiative, but a learning initiative. It is what we do with it that makes it beneficial in the classroom.”
Harrison said she is working to set comprehensible goals for curriculum and providing extensive professional development for teachers as it relates to new technology in the classroom.
According to Harrison, District Administrators are very supportive.
Jason Lesley at Spearman Elementary said, “I strongly believe that the use of technology, and specifically mobile devices in the classroom is critical to the success of our students and their futures. It levels the playing field for all students. These devices can be an awesome tool for collaboration, research and project-based learning.”
“It is certainly necessary to provide new techology for our students in the future,” Board Chairman Fred Alexander said.
During the meeting, Harrison also announced two USDE Presidential Scholars, both from Wren High. They are Jamie Hinston and Luke Keizer.
She also presented information on Palmetto Middle recently being named a “Schools to Watch”, and a recent visit to the school by SC House District 9 Representative Anne Thayer.