Jeffco Schools plans to expand the use of technology throughout the district as part of the new strategic plan, and 1:1 technology plays a crucial role. Jeffco plans to provide 1:1 devices such as Chromebooks, iPads, or other laptop computers for instruction and coursework in all schools by 2022, as part of the recently-approved Jeffco Generations strategic plan.
The 1:1 technology initiative was first implemented in 2013 at select schools, said Diana Wilson, Jeffco Schools chief communications officer. Schools in the initiative included Edgewater, Stevens, Molholm and Lumberg elementary schools, and Wheat Ridge 5-8 and Jefferson High School.
Students at each of the select schools received their own iPad to use in class. They also could take the device home every day to access to ebooks and other online learning materials.
Because all six schools were Title 1 schools with a large free and reduced lunch population, many students had limited access to technology and books at home. The 1:1 technology helped bridge the gap between the students and peers in more affluent Jeffco schools. Part of the Title 1 allocation paid for the devices.
Other Jeffco schools have also had 1:1 device initiatives.
Some schools have made a local decision to require families to pay for a device for their student. Others have written and received grants to fund devices for a specific grade level.
This fall, at least five Jeffco high schools — Arvada West, Green Mountain, Chatfield, Columbine and Dakota Ridge — required incoming freshman to buy computers for daily schoolwork.
1:1 technology embedded in Jeffco Generations
Technology is embedded in the Jeffco Generations skills, Wilson said. Technology will also support students as they work toward mastering those skills.
For example, technology supports computational thinking when students use coding tools to move a robot through a maze. Elementary students may also use technology to survey classmates about their favorite type of pet. Then students use that data to construct a graph with the survey results.
The use of 1:1 devices will also support project-based learning and the use of digital portfolios, Wilson said.
Digital portfolios allow students to collect work they have completed during the year electronically. Students showcase this work in a presentation, such as a slide show, rather than in a three-ring binder. Because digital portfolios remain accessible in their student account, students can see the growth they have made over time by revisiting portfolios from previous grades.
Using 1:1 technology also allows students access to programs such as Xtra Math, which allows elementary school students to practice their math facts in short daily sessions. At the end of each session, students can track their progress. Parents and teachers can also see which math facts their student knows well and which they still need to practice.
Similar programs for reading are also often used as one of many tools to help students develop reading and writing skills.
1:1 technology challenges
The district also anticipates some implementation challenges. Among them: determining appropriate amounts of screen time for children and ensuring that technology enhances classroom learning.
The cost of devices is another challenge, and thus far Jeffco schools have approached it differently. Staff are currently working to develop options to provide equitable access to technology across the district.
It may be a stretch to fully implement 1:1 technology by 2022, Wilson said. She added that it could be reached in all high schools by 2022.