CHS ENTERS DIGITAL AGE OF INSTRUCTION
WSVEF Helps Fund 21st Century Tech Program
Aug 15, 2013
When classes begin at White Salmon’s ColumbiaHigh School later this month, students will be starting more than just a new school year. They will be entering a new age of instruction for our community – 21st century digital instruction.
The 2013/2014 school year launches the pilot program of a four-year plan to bring a one-to-one student computing ratio to CHS. The White Salmon Valley Education Foundation (WSVEF) has collaborated closely with the school district, and other local businesses, to make this high tech program a reality, after community member Bryan Trullinger brought the concept to the district last year.
“This is an initiative the district’s Technology Committee has worked long and hard to achieve,” said WSVEF Executive Director Anne Marie Slater. “The Foundation is pleased to assist by granting the district $30,000 towards the purchase of 99 Google Chromebooks and corresponding charging and storage carts.”
The monies come from the Foundation’s second granting cycle for 2013 ($20,000), plus an additional $10,000.
Why the mass undertaking to move to one-to-one computing? Because it offers equal access to technology and information for all students. Students and teachers will be able to utilize education apps, new modes of instruction, information, skills development, and collaboration. And it’s the teaching wave of the future. All of this is geared to helping prepare students for work and life in the 21st century.
Initially, the devices will be used in three teacher’s classes, which will touch almost every student in the school. The four-year plan calls for each student in the school to have a Chromebook for his or her use for the school year. PC’s and Microsoft Office products will also be used throughout a student’s life at Columbia. The district believes in diverse exposure to technology to provide marketable skills once a student graduates.
District Superintendent Dr. Jerry Lewis says after working through the District’s Technology Committee, they decided to go with the Google Chromebooks for a variety of reasons.
Priced at $299 each, the Chromebooks are an economical alternative.
They are cloud-based, meaning they have no hard drive, allowing the devices to have a longer useful life than standard laptops or computers. And software and applications are updated automatically, meaning lower overhead and little to no additional IT support is required.
Finally, it is a single platform which is easy to master, meaning more time is spent on classroom learning and collaboration, and less time dealing with traditional technological headaches.
Social Studies teacher Peter Knowles is the Lead Pilot Coordinator for the Chromebook program.
Math and Science Teacher Amie Ell, and English Teacher Scott Kasenga round out the pilot year teachers. All three have volunteered to participate, and will spend the year undergoing development training on the program, in addition to their usual professional commitments. In the future, they will work to mentor/guide other teachers in the highest and best use of the Chromebooks and their applications in the classroom.
Implementation of the Google Chromebook program is possible due to a district initiative undertaken this summer to increase bandwidth at Columbia, making the interconnectivity possible. The district is also updating bandwidth capabilities at Henkle Middle and WhitsonElementary Schools to open up the digital learning age at those facilities as well.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to work with a district so committed to providing high quality education for our children, and continually working to improve their offerings,” said Slater.
The WSVEF has provided and facilitated nearly $1.3M in grants to a broad spectrum of programs in the White Salmon Valley School District since 2006. “The Foundation is excited to add support for technology in our schools along with the many other programs that we help fund”, said WSVEF President Jason Spadaro.
The WSVEF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the quality of public education within our community by creating a stable source of supplemental funding for curriculum enhancement and investment in our teachers. For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.wsvef.org or call (509)493-1175.