By Kristie Burk
Many school districts have moved to a 1:1 program, which gives one device for every student. We already have 1:1 programs in our sixth grade center, STEM and middle schools, but Downingtown is proud to announce that it’s the first public school district in the nation to offer a 1:1:1 program, which gives every student a device for every subject.
The 1:1:1 program will start in August 2017. Harvard Business School recently came to the district to study this innovative idea that is going to revolutionize how schools integrate technology for students.
“Students will have iPads for math,” says Dr. Mussoline, Superintendent of the Downingtown Area School District, “but they’ll also have Chromebooks for social studies, MacBooks for science and Kindles for English. We’re even going to give kids iTouch devices for art so that they can take pictures of their 3D work. No students in the country will have more devices than Downingtown students.”
The idea for this plan started when the administrative team began researching which device to choose for the students. Everyone had a favorite and it soon became clear that different devices worked optimally for different disciplines. Finally, the task force settled on the 1:1:1 idea.
Every curriculum leader in the district will be asked to select devices for their students. For example, students will get the Zoom – H6 Handy Audio Recorder for music classes, which supports 6-track simultaneous recording for up to 20 hours of operation, and the new Fitbit – Surge Fitness Watch for the physical education classes. Students will be required to wear the devices year-round, collecting heartrate and other data into a centralized database that will show real-time graphs on the district’s website.
World Language teachers will be excited to show kids how to use their new Android phones to connect via Skype with partnering students in other countries. For example, while they’re carpooling to practice, teachers like Alison Perez, Spanish teacher at Downingtown West, will encourage students to Skype and converse with other students carpooling in the same timezone.
The family consumer science department is looking into a new device called Calometer. It looks like a measuring cup, but can digitally measure food by grams, ounces, or calories. “No more guessing how many calories a Dorito has,” says Fran Evans, a DHSE teacher who plans to use the Calometer in her Introduction to Foods class. “Just drop in the Dorito and – voila – you’ll know it has 16 calories.”
At first, the elementary teachers were a little worried about the number of devices that they would have to keep track of. To alleviate this problem, Jon Blow, Coordinator of Technology Integration, will give each teacher a new GPS device called the Device Tracker, which will let the teachers know where every device is at all times. “Cool,” says Jessica Jones, Lionville Elementary School teacher.
Parents are equally thrilled with the 1:1:1 initiative that will only cost parents $15 a year per family in technology fees. “I think that $15 is a good fee to insure the multiple devices my children will have,” says April Joakes of West Bradford township.
The cost of the plan will be funded by taxes from the new amusement park slated to open across from Hickory Park in Upper Uwchlan Township. It will be called “Fools Farm.”