On an average day, you can find Seven Gonzalez sitting at her desk with an iPad researching tutorials on the latest mathematics lesson, taking verbal notes on a scientific theory, recording a performance of an original poem for an upcoming project or looking up synonyms for an essay.
From the description, Gonzalez sounds like any other student at one of the top universities in the nation, but in reality she is a fourth-grade student at Dr. Rodriguez Elementary School. Like students in 89 classrooms across the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, she is in a digital classroom, which incorporates technology into daily curriculum to give them an idea of what it’s like to study at an actual high school or college class. Her classwork takes a 21st century approach as she uses applications and features on her assigned iPad to help her progress her mathematical, writing and reading skills, but for her, she sometimes forgets she is learning with the fun that her technology enhanced lessons can bring.
Digital Classrooms and ILCs are only two components that make up the district’s digital initiatives, which also includes the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program. With BYOD implemented,
students have the opportunity to bring their personal devices to school and use them in class, just like a Digital Classroom. Instructors have the opportunity to choose if they would like to practice BYOD in their classroom, and currently, the program is being practiced throughout all classrooms at the Dr. Abraham P. Cano Freshman Academy.
With the technological transformation in full gear, the district’s digital initiatives are expected to further expand in the next few years until all classrooms are either digital classrooms or practice BYOD. The goal is to have all students learning in a classroom that reflects a college or university, while responsibly rolling out the technology, said Boykin.
Anxious for the future, Gonzalez is excited for the day that all of her classrooms will incorporate technology into lessons. She knows that with 21st century lessons, she will receive the tools necessary to be an interactive learner as she progresses through her education and works to follow her dream of becoming a therapist, she said.
Read the entire article on the Valley Morning Star at http://www.valleymorningstar.com/education/harlingen_cisd/article_f16a792e-7673-11e3-8653-0019bb30f31a.html