Batesville Community School Corp. educators have been implementing K-12 technology in the schools since 1995, reports Batesville Intermediate School principal Dr. Jere Schoettmer. “This technology evolution has progressed to the planning for a 1:1 initiative for our students. In the last three years, BCSC has been planning for each student to have his or her own device!”
Machines began arriving into Batesville High School students’ hands in fall 2012. Last fall, Batesville Middle School students were issued their Mac Air laptops and now Batesville Primary and Batesville Intermediate students will be issued devices in fall of 2014.
The dialogue for 1:1 at the last two schools began in spring 2013 involved planning by school technology teams, the IT Department and BCSC administration. The tech teams started to research what devices would be the best fit for younger students. There are many different issues for the teams to consider before choosing a device for younger students. She explains, “Any device chosen had to enhance instruction for our students, not be the driver of instruction. (Educators at) both schools were aware of the importance of the 21st century skills in the curriculum alignment for kindergarten through fifth-grade students. The school teams collaborated and supported each other’s efforts.
The tech teams looked for best practices and participated at two different site visits to Bluffton schools outside of Fort Wayne and Center Grove schools in Indianapolis. The teacher teams were able to tour schools and see students engaged with their devices. Schoettmer recalls, “We were able to talk with teachers and students who were using iPads. The visits were affirming to the school teams that K-5 is headed in the right direction.”
In choosing the device, one factor was cost. “It is the desire of our schools to keep book bills as low as possible for our parents. In 2013, K-5 adopted a new reading series to support the instruction of Common Core standards and the Indiana standards. That cost cannot be taken off the book bill. All other costs were reviewed and removed to make way for the device’s cost. The teams were also looking for a device that younger students could easily carry, be user friendly and allow for students to create products.”