With school out for summer, the Renton School District has its sights set on next year.
Students in kindergarten and first grade classrooms across the district will have access to iPads.
Ellen Dorr, director of digital learning for the school district, said each class room at each elementary school will have five iPads for students to use and learn with.
She said the big picture for the district is to be intentional with how technology is used and the increasing number of devices in the classroom.
“We don’t want younger ones to always be on screens,” she said. “We want it to be for learning purposes.”
Dorr said that iPads have a lot of features that are specific for younger students. She added these tablet-type devices are easier for younger students to use.
Two years ago the district added 3,000 devices, Dorr said, including Chromebooks.
And this past year, she said, the school district used a 1:1 ratio at Dimmitt Middle School with laptops. (For a full story on the laptop pilot program, visit www.rentonreporter.com/news/laptop-program-teaches-students-digital-citizenship/.)
Following the success of Dimmitt’s laptop pilot program, Dorr said all middle schools will incorporate the program into their curriculum.
Next up to test the 1:1 laptop program will be Renton High School. Students at the high school will be given a laptop to help with class work and homework.
Different from the middle school pilot program, Dorr said, the high school students will be able to take their laptops off campus.
Currently, students at Dimmitt kept their laptops on campus for use only during school hours.
Dorr said it is up to each individual middle school to determine when students are ready to responsibly take care of their school-issued laptop off campus.
She said that following next school year’s pilot at Renton High, all high schools will have 1:1 laptops at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. “These devices are tools,” Dorr said.
It is up to the district, she added, on how to use these devices improve and student teacher instruction.
The iPads, Chromebooks and laptops are paid for through the tech levy that was approved by voters.
Dorr said this levy will go through 2022. For more information on the levy, visit the school district’s website at www.rentonschools.us/Page/2030.
“We are excited to continue thinking about meeting the needs of students,” Dorr said. “We are able to do what the community wants, give opportunities to students to make them successful people.”