TVSD 1:1 Initiative
The TWIN VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT in conjunction with its mission to promote a supportive, challenging, and collaborative learning environment for today's students has embarked on the careful planning stages towards the goal of providing every student from grades 5-12 with a mobile device by the 2019-2020 school year. The primary focus of this 1:1 Initiative is improving teaching and learning in our classrooms by integrating strategies to promote 21st Century skills and deeper learning outcomes into curriculum and instruction for our students.
Our story of "going 1:1" started about 2 years ago when we began our commitment to using the Google platform as a serious learning tool. Before long, our teachers found that Google provided a terrific environment for storing teaching and learning materials, and sharing them among their peers, but more importantly with their students. Teachers at all levels have found a place for using the Google apps, but our secondary teachers have woven Google apps and extensions into their everyday routine with their students. While we let this organically grow throughout the Middle School and High School, it became clear that needing a device that integrated with the Google platform would be necessary. Enter Chromebook carts!
Within the last year and a half, we introduced Chromebooks stored on carts throughout the High School, and Middle School. Each cart contains 30 devices, which is perfect for a classroom set. By the time we ended the 16-17 school year we introduced department and grade-level specific carts providing as many class sets as we could. Popularity in using the carts grew with each passing month, so it became clear that providing a device per student was an effective direction to pursue.
Fast-forward to this school year and we are deep in the trenches of planning for our 1:1 -- an initiative designed to provide a standardized learning environment. Google + a device is the WHAT of our initiative, but the WHY is so much more exciting! Our 1:1 Initiative will provide anytime/anywhere access to learning and expand the possibilities of where learning occurs - the places we learn are many and don't always require brick and mortar. Our 1:1 Initiative will provide flexible access to instructional materials, allowing our students to learn at a pace they self-manage. Our 1:1 Initiative will provide a continuous cycle of feedback as students process instruction and practice subject matter. Finally, our 1:1 Initiative will support a transformation in classroom time -- a time for higher level thinking and discussion as students produce projects and achieve milestones exhibiting a mastery in their learning.
A 1:1 Initiative is a tool for learning. We do not expect our 1:1 to be the ultimate solution for academic success, but finding those niches where a standardized tool for learning enhances the process is a step in the right direction. It is the answer to the question "What does it mean to go to school at Twin Valley?" It is a milestone, one of many in our learning culture that provides the answer "Technology and learning, at Twin Valley, are coexisting threads in the fabric of our learning community."
I often wonder if many of our students feel like they are time traveling as they walk through the school door each morning. As they cross the threshold, do they feel as if they are entering a simulation of life in [a world foreign to them]? Then, at the end of the school day, do they feel that they have returned to the 21st Century?
~Heidi Hayes Jacob