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Eagle Update: Middle School’s 1:1 computer initiative

In the fall of 2019, all students at New Ulm Middle School were issued a Chromebook as part of a 1:1 technology initiative to support teaching and learning in and out of the classroom.

In the first few months of the program, all middle school students learned about digital citizenship and internet safety by participating in weekly lessons led by their advisory teachers. The students also learned the basics of using the device and how to navigate Google Tools for Education. Using technology in school isn’t new, but the strategies we are incorporating into the classroom are.

While the students are learning how to use technology in the classroom, the teachers are as well. With the support of a technology integration coach, middle school teachers have participated in several trainings throughout the school year that have allowed them not only to grow their own technology skills, but to explore best practices in integrating educational technology in the classroom.

Each day, teachers are identifying new ways in which they can use technology to increase productivity and enhance teaching and learning in the classroom. Using technology as a tool, teachers are able to efficiently assess student learning and are able to use the information in real time to guide their instruction.

As part of a district-wide focus on personalizing learning for all, teachers are also learning how to use technology tools to personalize learning for students in the classroom. Increased technology provides opportunities for students to learn at their own pace, demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways and offers more choices for students in learning. Moreover, the 1:1 technology initiative has provided all middle school students with a tool that allows them to track and reflect upon their academic progress, leading to greater ownership of their learning.

At the end of the school day, students have the option of bringing their device home to extend their learning. Increased access to technology has resulted in increased opportunities for communication and feedback among students and teachers. Teachers use a program called Google Classroom to post assignments, notes, presentations, articles and other resources that can be accessed by students and parents at any time.

The 1:1 initiative has created greater equity among middle school students providing all learners with equal access to tools and resources that can be used both in and out of school. Without a doubt, the 1:1 initiative continues to provide students and teachers with new and enhanced opportunities for teaching and learning.

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