JAMESTOWN — The Greeneview school district is trying to put technology directly in the hands of its students.
Through various initiatives, more students will have the use of Chromebooks, while younger students are being exposed to computer programming. In addition, the district has beefed up its technology infrastructure and will increase the middle school wireless access during the summer so more devices can be added to the network in the future.
“Greeneview believes technology is a resource that enhances the teaching and learning experience by empowering students and teachers,” Superintendent Isaac Seevers said. “Technology provides faculty the tools needed to efficiently and effectively perform all the administrative and support requirements. It is the vision of the technology department to create an environment where students, teachers and staff members have safe, secure, and reliable access to technology that fosters creativity, critical-thinking and higher learning.”
When school begins next year, all high school students will have their own Chromebooks.
Students will pay $25 per year for the device and then they can keep the device at the end of their senior year. Each device costs the district $255, which includes a case. Juniors and seniors will have access to used Chromebooks during the next two years. Freshmen and sophomores will receive new Chromebooks. The district already owns some Chromebooks and these will be used by students to fill out the remaining needed devices. The student fee will help offset the total cost to the district and will also allow the students to have a consistent, dedicated device throughout their high school experience, Seevers said.
“There is an educational benefit to the students because they have access to their devices and Google Classroom as they need them,” Seevers said. “Currently, students and staff members are limited on their usage because of a limited number of devices in the buildings. We believe the access to technology will enhance our student’s access to information and connection with each other. The device will increase their ability to collaborate with each other on projects and assignments. Devices owned and connected with the district will have the same amount of content filtering and oversight as other devices. Our district staff will be able to monitor and oversee the acceptable use of the district.”
Through code.org, the district is offering introduction to computer programming to all elementary students. In the fall, the program will be offered to sixth grade students as well as an elective.
“Students receive an introduction to computer science, programming, and internet safety,” Seevers said. “Students learn to create computer programs that will help them learn to collaborate with others, develop problem-solving skills, and persist through difficult tasks. They will study programming concepts, computational thinking, digital citizenship, and develop interactive games or stories they can share. The course teaches the foundational concepts of programming using drag and drop blocks.”
Seevers added that the district is also adding STEM programming in kindergarten through eighth grade this spring. Every student in grades K-8 will participate in a Project Lead the Way LAUNCH course after spring testing. It will become an annual initiative where teachers attempt to engage students in hands-on learning activities in the area of robotics, engineering, and bio-medical science.
“This is a great introduction to programming and a good STEM opportunity,” Seevers said. “I think it is important for us to provide our students with access to challenging work that develops their ability to persevere and learn new skills. Programming through code.org offers us an opportunity to have a STEM component in our elective rotation. It is also a good enrichment opportunity for our students to add value to the normal instruction. I read research where students decide by the end of fourth grade if they are good at math and science. They make a conscious decision based on their experiences up to that point in time. Our desire is to expose them to challenging and engaging STEM opportunities so they will remain excited and engaged.”
The wireless expansion and update in the middle school will cost $24,165, but it will allow the district to increase the number of wireless access point, providing larger capacity.
“This is necessary for us because we are adding more mobile devices to the building,” Seevers said. “Ultimately we would like to increase the capacity so we can access 30 devices per classroom.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.