Wikis, Google Docs, and Skype…what do these tools have in common? They allow students to research, communicate, collaborate, and create with or for a variety of audiences.
The Glass Paper Project will allow teachers to transform the teaching and learning process, extending it beyond their classroom walls. Predictably, students and teachers will use more electronic resources and multimedia. However, when factual knowledge is available at the click of a button, teachers can ask questions whose answers rely heavily on communication, collaboration, creativity, innovation, critical thinking and problem solving. Students, in turn, respond by engaging both the content and learning process.
While we look to better learning opportunities with this new technology, that promise is offset by the reality that students will be responsible for staying on-task and caring for a $500 device. In class, teachers will continue to help students monitor their learning to maximize their time using the device productively.
Outside of class, students will have custody of the devices and will be responsible for their charging, storage, and physical condition. Students and their parents will sign a contract of understanding, in which both acknowledge that the device is the property of the school district and its primary purpose is for learning. Responsible use of the devices is outlined in the guidelines of AP-4265: Student Use of the Fargo Public Schools Information Network. The contract also addresses intentional and unintentional damage to the equipment, and how replacement of the devices will be handled should a student need a new one. While adding the device to an insurance rider or homeowner’s policy is not required, it is recommended.
Along with their care of the devices, students will also have assistance from the District’s tech support teams for troubleshooting and software updates. The Fargo Public Schools will make some adjustments to its help desk operations to accommodate this. However, the cloud-based learning environment will backup and store all student work, protecting that data from loss. This translates to easier maintenance of the device. At the building level, the District is evaluating various technical support models. One of them would involve students, giving them a learning opportunity within the field of technical support. Although this has not yet been chosen, such a model would be managed by school network managers.
With the focus of the project on our secondary students, there is still the question and discussion on how FPS will continue to plan and implement technology at the elementary level. How we tackle implementation there – which resources and how we will use them – is yet to be decided. The elementary school implementation will be a part of the 5-year technology plan that is currently being developed for FPS.
This year’s launch of the Glass Paper Project begins a new era of teaching and learning in the Fargo Public Schools. Our curriculum content and instructional design will intentionally focus on student achievement of the Common Core Standards and 21st Century Skills – communication (reading and writing), collaboration, critical and creative thinking, and problem solving. When our vision is achieved, the resources (such as these personal learning devices) will become transparent. Our students will use them as seamlessly as they use paper and pencil today to achieve the goals that will prepare them for college and careers.
More information on the Glass Paper Project is available on our website.