The transformation of secondary classrooms into 21st century learning environments is no small task. In the Fargo Public Schools, it has been a multi-step process utilizing the input and talents of many individuals, both inside and outside of the Fargo Public Schools, for the last two years.
In order to move towards a 1:1 technology environment, the District formed task forces comprised of high school and middle school administrators, teachers, and parents. They met throughout the 2011-12 school year to discuss the future implementation of digital curriculum using 1:1 devices in grades 6-12.
The first phase of implementation in the Fargo Public Schools – readiness – began in May. It involved determining when buildings would be ready to deploy the devices. This was done with presentations to each high school’s faculty, along with a survey. The results were used to plan their readiness professional development. Over the summer, curriculum writing took place to review, revise and organize materials for the English II, Western Civilization and Biology courses at the high school level, and the language arts, social studies, science and math for a sixth grade pilot.
South High School will lead the first-round of rollouts in early October with a laptop computer to a majority of the sophomore class. North High School, which is still presently completing the readiness phase, will deploy devices at the start of the second semester (around January 14). There are still some variables that are not finalized, including the device to be used at North High, and the width of distribution to sophomore end users – individual classes vs. the entire grade.
A middle school pilot will also launch during second semester, involving two sixth grade teams from each school. Roughly 400 participants across the District will take part in the pilot. The device for this rollout will be selected by the end of December; however, this will be an in-school pilot – devices will remain in the buildings. This pilot will help decide how a 1:1 initiative may be launched at the middle school level in the future.
At present, the fall of 2013 is planned for implementation of devices at Davies High School for grade 10 and for juniors at South and North. The details of this timeline will be finalized by next spring. The ninth grade deployment schedule will either follow 10-12 or be extended from the middle school deployment plan.
Funding for the Glass Paper Project comes from existing budgets. The District is purchasing more devices that cost less, and flipping the distribution model. There may be a need to increase funding temporarily to accommodate initial timelines in the middle and high schools, but the goal is to realign existing funding to sustain this model over time. At present, there are no plans to assess student fees with the device unless it is damaged or lost due to irresponsible student behavior.
In Part Three of the series next week, learn more about students’ responsibility for the devices, how the devices will be supported, and how the technology will change the way we plan our curriculum.
More information on the Glass Paper Project is available on our website.