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Parkland Ready 21

 

Dear Parkland Parents/Guardians:

As we transition to a more digital learning environment, we are excited to work with you and your son or daughter this school year on the implementation of a 1:1 program called Parkland Ready 21 (PR21). This initiative takes stock of best practices for incorporating technology into the curriculum, allowing students to have greater voice and choice within their learning paths. PR21 represents a pedagogical shift as we continue to evolve from a teacher-centered classroom to a learner-driven environment. This is called Personalized Learning.

Personalized learning is not new at Parkland. High school and middle school teachers incorporated Schoology into their curriculum in 2018-19, and elementary teachers are learning this tool during the 2019-20 school year. Schoology is an online Learning Management System (LMS) that allows teachers to design lessons, create engaging content, and assess student understanding. Classrooms that utilize Schoology allow students to keep track of assignments by storing assignments and projects all in one portal. Teachers provide feedback within the portal, thus allowing a more engaging space for parents to better access and understand what their child is learning and how well they are learning. Videos that demonstrates the many ways our teachers were able to use technology to enhance teaching and learning last school year can be found to the right.

During the 2019-2020 school year, Parkland will ensure every student in grades K through 12 has a personal learning device as a resource to more fully engage with this evolving digital ecosystem. Students will use their iPad (grades K-1) or Chromebooks (grades 2-12) as a digital textbook for many different tasks including note-taking, homework assignments, coursework, collaborative research projects, and more.

The Lenovo 500e 2-in-1 Chromebook device is the model that has been chosen for students in grades 2-5 and 9-12. It is more durable than a typical device, spill-resistant, and has touch and drawing capabilities built-in to foster student note-taking and creativity. The HP 11 2-in-1 Chromebook is the model that has been chosen for students in grades 6-8. Each student will be issued a Chromebook, charger, and carrying case. Students will be able to purchase replacements for Chromebook accessory items in the school store.

It is important to note that students in grades K-4 will NOT be taking their device home. In 5th grade, upon completion of a full marking period of study on digital citizenship, students will be allowed to take their device home.  Students who take their devices home need to charge and bring their Chromebook to school every day. Students will also need to have earbuds, which will be available for purchase in the school store or can be found at minimal cost in area stores. More information about the use of Chromebooks in education can be found here. More  information about the overall 1:1 rollout plan can be found in this Morning Call article

We are offering several Parkland Academy workshops to help staff leverage these devices fully, and understand how they can facilitate transformative learning experiences for our students. Technology paraprofessionals and tech mentors in every building will help to provide critical support.

Personalized computing is a model in which every student has his/her own personal learning device. The benefits of this approach include:
• Students can collaborate in real time and have access to information that is updated as it occurs.
• Teachers have automatic grading and data analytics, allowing them to tactically use their time where it is needed most - with students.
•  Teachers will have to spend less time on scheduling carts of computers and can instead focus on what they do best - teach.
• Students can create, highlight, categorize, and keep their course materials in a variety of multimedia formats that are immediately available and searchable.
• Students with advanced skills are able to expand their skills and knowledge by working at their own pace.
• Students with learning differences are better able to keep pace with classmates because they can utilize technology to meet their individual learning needs.

Additional Resources
How to Keep Learning Social in the Digital Classroom (ASCD, 2019)

Care & Feeding Of Your Chromebook & Digital Citizenship

iNACOL Report: What’s Possible With Personalized Learning (February, 2017)

Let’s Teach for Mastery, Not Test Scores (TED Talk, September, 2016)

For comments and questions, please contact Tracy Smith, Assistant to the Superintendent for Operations, at smith_tracy@parklandsd.org or JR Renna, Coordinator of Educational Technology, at rennaj@parklandsd.org.

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