Despite textbooks being an essential tool for teachers, the 2013 US History textbooks didn't mention the tragedy of 9/11.
In 2015, Wylie ISD purchased digital social studies textbooks that are frequently updated and enhance learning by providing digital resources a traditional text book cannot. Imagine if your textbooks had:
• Videos • Online Quizzes • Translation features for those students new to the US • Reads to the students • Enlarged font, if needed by the student • Interactive timelines and maps • Online images and current events
These online textbooks and the Chromebooks kids used were we a smashing success! The following year, English/Language Arts requested online textbooks and Chromebooks for their classrooms…they were just as awesome!!!
We Proudly patted ourselves on the back, considering our job “done.” However, Science teachers like Kris Cravens wanted to know when their Chromebooks would arrive. He explained that kids are different. In his own words:
"Technology is such a part of their everyday life, that to remove it would be like removing a part of themselves. This is why we need to embrace their desire to explore and use the vast resources available to enhance their learning."
Mr. Cravens describes his classroom, as a place students can use technology to observe the raw images of space taken by telescopes orbiting the Earth, helping astrophysicists catalog and identify different objects in our galaxy. They see real-time climate data, making weather predictions just like the meteorologists on TV. Students use 3D models of atoms, compounds, and a multitude of other simulators to see and manipulate the abstract concepts in concrete methods.
"Technology is no longer a tool, but a necessity in the classroom. I no longer teach my students about science concepts, but teach them how to be scientists.”
WOW! This conversation and others helped me understand and embrace technology as an essential component of the school experience. Since then, we have been working hard to put technology in the hands of every student.
Lots of schools give teachers and kids technology and ask them to figure out how to use it. Instead, Wylie ISD provides technology based on their needs. That may seem like a small thing, but it is essential to our success and not very common.
CHROMEBOOKS FOR INTERMEDIATE & JUNIOR HIGH Last year, we provided every student at our Intermediate campuses a Chromebook they checked in and out daily. This pilot rocked, junior high is next!!! This fall (2018) every junior high student will check out their own Chromebooks during the school day.
Junior high parents, if you haven’t received information yet, details from your principal are coming soon. Campuses also plan to offer Question/Answer sessions at Meet the Teacher Nights.
HIGH SCHOOL ROLL OUT: 2019-2020 If our plans to provide junior high campuses Chromebooks go well, High School students will receive Chromebooks in August 2019. We chose to offer high school Chromebooks last because it involves the most kids and we plan to allow students to take the technology home instead of checking computers in and out every day. It has to be done right, thanks for your patience!
From efforts to provide updated textbooks, we are prepared to launch the best 1 to 1 (Computer to student) technology initiative in Texas the next two years! This plan is not only the most financially responsible and sustainable plan, but gives teachers and kids the 21st Century learning platforms they need to succeed. We welcome your ideas, your questions, and your support as we provide your kids and our teachers' fantastic technology, the Wylie Way!