"I have been to Oz, and the world is in color now."

"I have been to Oz, and the world is in color now."

One of our very talented veteran teachers said that to me after a recent visit to a school outside Minneapolis that provides a computer to each of its students in what's known as a one-to-one technology program. But this teacher wasn't talking about the technology. What he described as "astounding" was the freedom and flexibility the technology provided for students.

"The technology was just a tool -- an invaluable tool," he said. "It sparked a whole new way of learning by liberating students from having to sit at a desk and passively receive information. The students were actively engaged, and the teachers were able to individualize instruction."

As a part of our new strategic plan, we will bring a similar experience to the students of Upper Arlington. During the next three years, we will begin providing each student with some type of device -- tablet or laptop -- that they can use in school and at home.

For parents, it's clear that our children are digital natives. Sometimes that's a good thing, and sometimes it is frustrating for us. But as author Ian Jukes once said, "We need to prepare students for their future, not our past."

Like it or not, the future is full of technology. A modern-day, world-class education must teach students to harness the power of these devices and use them safely and responsibly.

The addition of one-to-one technology also enables our teachers to better embed lessons about digital citizenship, which are becoming increasingly important for all of us. These days, knowing how to stay safe online is almost on par with knowing to look both ways before crossing the street. It's also important for students to understand that the digital footprint they create as children can follow them on to college, career and beyond.

As important as technology is to the future of education, nothing is more important than the relationship between a student and a teacher. Technology simply allows the two generations to share a common language that engages students in their own learning.

As the talented teacher I mentioned earlier said, technology is just a tool, but it's an invaluable one in our mission to challenge and support every student, every step of the way.

Implementing a one-to-one technology program requires careful planning and great attention to detail. A dedicated team of secondary teachers and administrators is working on everything from selecting the right device to designing instructional support for colleagues. We are reinforcing our network infrastructure, developing plans for student tech support and engaging in a sensible budgeting process that keeps us living within our means.

Families of students in grades six through 12 will begin to hear much more about the program this fall. At the same time, a team of elementary teachers and administrators will be analyzing the secondary work and adapting it to meet the needs of our younger learners.

We expect elementary students to begin receiving devices during the 2016-17 school year.

For additional information on the process and research phase of our one-to-one program, I invite you to watch to the presentation from the April board meeting online at uaschools.org/technologypresentation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at superintendent@uaschools.org or 614-487-5030.

Paul Imhoff is superintendent of Upper Arlington Schools.