MEXICO – The Mexico Academy and Central School District is embarking on a 1:1 student laptop program to help its students increase their digital literacy and core competencies.
MACS Director of Technology Steven Roux said the district will roll out laptops for students in grades two through 12 at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year.
The advancement to the MACS technology program comes after approximately 75 percent of its teachers have been trained in blended learning instruction strategies, which is a combination of traditional classroom learning and computer-mediated instruction to support student ownership of their own learning.
“This is not about technology; it’s about using the right tool to support student learning,” Roux said.
Students in grades two through four will have a device assigned to them in their classroom and they may utilize it for any necessary classroom switching.
Fifth and sixth graders will start the year with devices in their classroom and will be allowed to take laptops home after the October open house.
Students in grades seven through 12 will be permitted to bring the laptops home for flexible studying, research time and completion of class assignments.
All students will be trained on how to properly care for their laptops, which will come with a case for added protection.
They will be required to review the 1:1 program handbook and through Family ID, parents will also be asked to accept responsibility for the device. Future 1:1 student and parent orientations will take place.
Roux said the development of the 1:1 program does not mean students will utilize the technology all day, but “it’s about the right time to be on it for specific tasks.”
Mary Beth Horn, MACS Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, said more time will be built into students’ schedules to help increase their keyboarding and other computer skills to help make the program even more successful. Increased utilization of the devices will also help with preparation for online assessments, she said.
Students in grades pre-kindergarten through first grade will have a classroom set of iPads for age-appropriate digital literacy development.
“We are so ready for this,” Roux said. “We have spent almost seven years training and supporting teachers and integrating technology in the classroom. More and more content is available electronically for students and whether it’s premade, a teacher can utilize and post in Schoology or record and post themselves.”
Horn said the 1:1 laptop program will aide in increased purposeful instruction time, which also highlights the 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
Roux said the district has leveraged the power of services through the Regional Information Center and was able to lease necessary equipment over an extended period of time. MACS, he said, should pride itself on having committed to investing in technology years ago and having increased opportunities available for students. He credited MACS staff and Board of Education members for making it all possible.