FULTON – The Fulton City School District has embarked on a Digital Learning Initiative to provide digital equality as a way to empower all students with 21st Century tools.
FCSD Technology Director Dominick Lisi said the undertaking will provide each student in grades three through 12 with a Chromebook, while the district will also explore age-appropriate solutions for students in grades kindergarten through second.
“These devices open up the world to both teachers and students which are traditionally limited by resources and classroom environments designed for 19th Century learners,” he said. “Projects like the DLI provide our young learners with the resources, tools and instructional methodologies that will help prepare them for the future.”
Utilization of Chromebooks will foster immersion and engagement in academic lessons across core areas and facilitate critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.
Lisi said as technology changes, the district will explore other device options that may best fit learning needs.
As of Dec. 15, all FCSD students in grades three, four, seven and eight were assigned Chomebooks, while the implementation of the device for students in grades five, six and nine through 12 will occur in the fall of 2018.
As the DLI moves forward, the district will provide a series of professional development strategies, programs and resources to fully prepare instructional staff for impending changes.
Diverse DLI connections for teachers are also available on the new FCSD Technology and Professional Development website to help the Fulton learning community follow the project, find relevant information and access professional development tools and resources.
The ongoing project began last year with pilot programs in several classrooms. Building upon knowledge gained throughout other districts across the nation will further ensure successful fulfillment of the local initiative, Lisi said.
Since he has experienced the impact properly-implemented technology plans can have on engaging students and empowering instructional leaders, he said it is his greatest hope that the DLI will accomplish that and more for the FCSD community.
All Chromebooks are considered school property and all policies governing school property will cover those devices.
Parents will not be responsible for purchasing Chromebooks or added protection, however, students must treat the devices with the utmost care.
Lisi said the district is exploring options for some students to take their Chromebooks home, as he recognizes “learning takes place both in and out of the classroom.”
That, coupled with affordable Internet access options through Spectrum Cable, would ensure added success with no financial strain for FCSD families.
More information on those Internet options may be found at www.spectrum.com.
Lisi said the cost to run the Digital Learning Initiative, including purchase of devices, professional development, and other related costs, has been largely covered by maximizing several state and federal programs, such as the Smart Bond Act and the Federal E-Rate program.
In addition, FCSD is working closely with the Center for Instruction, Technology and Innovation and the Central New York Regional Information Center to investigate the most economically-responsible funding method.