It’s not surprising middle-school students are often more fluent in technology than their parents. But now, due to state grant money allocated to Carson and Eagle Valley middle schools, that technological know-how will be guided toward digital education and job readiness as students advance toward graduation.
“Technology provides access to a much wider and more flexible set of learning re-sources than is available in most classrooms,” said LeAnn Morris, Carson City School District lead technology integration specialist and Google-certified educator.
CCSD recently received about $1.9 million from the Nevada Ready 21 Technology Grant Program.
According to the Nevada Department of Education’s website, Nevada Ready 21 is funded through the state general fund and provides technology-based, “learner-centered” education.
At Carson and Eagle Valley middle schools, the funds were used to purchase 2,100 Chromebooks for all sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students and certified staff. Funds also went toward additional professional development, instructional coaches, IT staff, and other digital learning resources.
The Chromebooks will enable students to connect to Google App programs and cloud compute in a variety of educational platforms.
“It is important to keep middle-school-age students engaged in their learning by providing interactive learning environments and tools for understanding and remembering content,” Morris said. “Providing a Chromebook for every student allows for personalization of learning that is paced to individual student needs, specific interests and learning preferences.”
Morris said students are excited about the transition.
“The students will receive their new Chromebooks in August when they come back to school, and yet they are already excited to know that they will be receiving new devices,” she said.
Teachers are also excited. Morris helped organize a series of learning summits in early June that focused on teacher/administrator training and technology integration.
“This grant is allowing an incredible amount of support and resources to enhance 21st century teaching and learning at CMS and EVMS,” she said. “We are also very fortunate to have our own Carson City School District teacher Tearra Bobula, who was selected as one of four Nevada Department of Education Nevada Ready 21 Professional Development Experts for the 2016-17 school year.”
Morris explained how the Nevada Ready 21 initiative meets certain goals of the CCSD Strategic Plan.
“One of the goals of the plan is to provide every student with access to one-to-one mobile technology,” she said. “Nevada Ready 21 will allow Carson City School District to continue to support teachers as they improve their ability to integrate 21st century skills, the Nevada Academic Content Standards and personalized learning into their instruction.”
These new standards and skills will be more important than ever in an increasingly complex global marketplace. Students will be expected to be creative and innovative, capable of critical thinking and problem-solving with a certain degree of IT fluency.
To this effect, Nevada Ready 21 will help Carson students engage in “creative, productive, life-long learning,” Morris emphasized.
For more information about the program, visit http://www.doe.nv.gov/Legislative/Nevada_Ready_21/.