Howe Independent School District provides quality curricula, co-curricula, and special services to meet the needs of our student population. We are a progressive school district that envisioned a new type of learning environment and implemented our 1:1 iPad Initiative which is dedicated to the 21st century model of teaching and learning where teachers incorporated digital citizenship, critical thinking and problem-solving skills to foster collaboration and interdependence from our students.
The key to the successful execution of our 1:1 iPad initiative was planning and collaborating with all invested parties. In 2007, administrators, curriculum and technology department members all joined to solicit input from teachers, students, and parents alike as the 1:1 project moved forward.
Staff development focused around the integration of technology into our curriculum. It was important that devices and programs chosen for our district had been thoroughly vetted by all parties. The team wanted teachers to feel comfortable with content delivery based on the use of technology, but we also wanted our students to invest in the idea of using technology in all parts of their daily classroom routine. In preparation for this new concept, teachers at each grade level attended multiple technology integration training specifically designed for their curriculum. The technology team also helped teachers lead student orientation meetings to introduce students to their devices, online textbook tools, classroom management procedures and Internet safety. Campus administrators led parent orientation meetings at the beginning of each school year to help our community fully understand the importance of their role in the success of our 1:1 initiative.
Over time, the expectation of the 1:1 initiative became rooted in our school community. The success of our program hinges on evidence that participation in the 1:1 program would not only improve teaching and learning, but also transform the classroom environment into a place of collaboration, critical thinking and digital literacy. Since we started at ground zero with no student or teacher devices, accomplishing our first goal of achieving a 1:1 ratio was easy to measure; measuring other educational and learning environment goals proved more difficult.
We used surveys and standardized test scores to measure our program’s impact on education. While our student test scores continued to improve, true empirical data could not be documented to show this was a direct result of the 1:1 project. Informal student surveys reflected feelings of positive learning effects, with many mentioning the positive impact of having teachers capture lessons online for later review. Teachers reported the technology as being supportive in collaborative and interactive learning assignments such as discussions and feedback sessions. Informal surveys of administrators demonstrated that the learning environment had changed as a result of the program, as they reported the traditional student desk was being replaced with group tables which allowed for more collaborative learning practices.
It took the involvement of multiple departments to create a successful 1:1 program focused on student learning. During every team meeting, we directed our attention to creating a student-centered classroom where technology would play a role in supporting our teachers’ use of constructivist practices to improve learning. The technology remained a small piece of a much larger goal. Since our team included administrators as well as curriculum and technology personnel, the balance of ideas came naturally. We all agreed that the success or failure of our program would be determined by a student-centered pedagogy.
Every decision we made, whether it was which devices to purchase, textbooks to adopt, programs to install, wireless platform to provide, training to offer and insurance coverage to provide, our team came back to this driving question – how will this purchase improve teaching and learning?
Our team conferred with other schools and educational leaders from around our state to help us determine the best approach to successfully implementing a 1:1 program. Team members researched successful and unsuccessful projects, visited other schools piloting 1:1 and BYOD programs and attended numerous conferences to view presentations on the topic.
Howe ISD is proud of our 1:1 iPad Initiative which was designed to engage and empower learners to actualize our mission of personal success, dynamic leadership, and global citizenship.