Worthington News

Bring your own device

Plan calls for all students on devices within three years

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Worthington City Schools leaders have a plan to ensure that all students have access to technology whenever it is needed.

By providing one electronic device for every two to three students and encouraging all students to bring their own devices from home, almost all students should have access to one, according to a three-year technology plan presented to the Worthington Board of Education on Aug. 25.

All students will be encouraged to bring their own devices to school. Those could range from laptop computers to electronic tablets like iPads, to smartphones.

To supplement the program, the district will purchase 2,800 Chromebooks. They will be available at each school, distributed according to each school's need. A Chromebook costs about $220.

Each school will have an electronics lending library from which students may check out the Chromebooks. They may be taken home overnight or on weekends to allow students without their own devices to log in for classroom lessons.

District officials say they think a significant number of students already have their own mobile devices.

The technology report to the board noted that on one Wednesday in April, 4,000 personal devices were logged on to the Worthington wireless network.

Desktop and laptop computers that are in the schools already would remain to support software that can't be used on mobile devices.

The three-year plan also calls for the installation of a "robust technology and electrical infrastructure" to meet the demands of an increasing technological environment.

Also recommended in the technology plan is implementation of an instructional management system that would involve a single sign-on to simplify online learning, virtual classrooms and digital learning materials.

Also, a decision has been made to implement a system called Google Apps for Education to improve students' and teachers' abilities to communicate and collaborate digitally.

Google Apps includes email, word processing, spreadsheets, slides, website creation, calendars, file storage and a paperless workflow system.

The plan also calls for creation of a technology professional-development learning plan to help teachers integrate digital resources and technology into their instruction.

"Teachers are excited; teachers are anxious," said Trent Bowers, assistant superintendent. "It is like any other learning process."

The technology plan was developed over a five-month period by a committee of administrators, staff members, students, parents and other community members. It is meant to assist the district in allocating and spending funds related to technology over the next three years.

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