1:1 Technology

Perhaps you have heard that Ferris ISD has embarked on a new learning initiative that involves providing technology to all students. Those of us in the education world call this a one-to-one (1:1). This means that every student in grades one through twelve will have access to a device every single day.

What does a 1:1 look like in the classroom?
This means that students who are in grades 1-12 will be given a laptop computer that is called a Chromebook. Students will be able to take these home and work on assignments, message their teacher for help, or even work on group projects with other students at the same time. Even if a student’s home does not have Internet service, the Chromebook has the capability to download assignments and allow the student to work on them. Once the student re-enters the school’s wireless Internet umbrella, the student will be able to upload their assignment to their teacher’s site.

Teachers will also be able to utilize the flipped classroom model which means that they can assign a short video for students to watch at home and then students will come to class with prior knowledge that will help them better understand the concept that is being taught that day. Ferris ISD is also excited about the fact that many teachers will be using a program called Google Classroom where students will be able to participate in online discussion groups with their teachers and classmates, work on collaborative projects, view videos, and turn in assignments. Think of it as the central hub for the classroom. If a student is at home and confused about an assignment, they can pull up the instructional video or other resources that the teacher provided and they will have instant access to the learning.

Every fourth, fifth and sixth grader will have a Chromebook that they will be able to use at school, but they will not be taking them home. Every first through third grader will have an iPad to use in class each day. Ferris ISD believes that it is important for students to be able to utilize multiple platforms for technology.

This is also what has motivated investigations into equipping Ferris Intermediate and Ferris Junior High with Smart Labs. Smart Labs are classrooms that are designed to encourage all students to pursue higher order thinking. The Smart Labs promote S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning opportunities for all students and would also be the creation station for our Gifted and Talented students. Ultimately, we want you to know that we realize that technology is a tool, not a learning outcome. We are not attempting to replace the teacher and we will continue to value the importance of effective instruction and the need for students to experience a healthy and nurturing school environment.

Is it necessary for us to have an Internet connection at home for my child to do their school work?

While having and Internet connection is the best scenario, it is not absolutely necessary. Most of the assignments will be able to be accomplished without the need of an Internet connection. Teachers will be advised and know what assignments will be able to be done without the use of the Internet.

How will the school ensure that my child does not go to inappropriate websites on their school issued device?
Ferris ISD is bound by the CIPA (Child Internet Protection Act) law which requires the school district to ensure that a CIPA-certified web content filter is in place while students are at the school. However, Ferris ISD will go a step further to ensure that your student has the same filtering while away from school as he/she has while at school.

Will my student be on the computer all the time? Will it be a babysitter?
No! The device that will be issued to your student will be used to enhance his/her learning experience. This program is a different way of learning, not a magic bullet. Students will have time on the devices and time off of the devices.

Brett Browne
Director of Technology
Kendra Gajdica
Director of Primary Learning
Jane Dvorak
Director of Secondary Learning