The first laptops were handed out to teachers over the weekend as Norman Public Schools begins to implement its one-to-one program.
Every sixth to 12th grade student will receive either a laptop or iPad through the program. All of their teachers will also receive a laptop, and younger students will have access to iPads as well, though not at the one-device-per-child ratio of the higher grades.
The program is funded by a 2014 bond issue.
“We are calling our student instructions technology initiative iTech,” assistant superintendent Shirley Simmons told the NPS board of education last week.
Simmons said Apple has offered NPS a lot of support through the process and will also provide 38 days of training on the devices. The teacher MacBook deployment, professional development, infrastructure and parent communication are all vital to ensuring the success of the initiative.
“This professional learning must be visualized and personalized so that we’re meeting them where they are,” Beth Fritch, NPS director of staff development and student achievement, said.
Much of the training will take place in August, though some teachers are receiving their devices before then so they more familiar with them by the time professional development focuses more on lesson plans and classroom implementation.
Technology-driven lessons have been connected with a specific kind of teaching process called guided inquiry, where they lesson is driven by students’ questions, with teachers guiding students through the learning process instead directing them through a subject or a lesson plan.
NPS first brought guided inquiry to classrooms in 2015 and Fritch said about 270 teachers have been trained trained, with one more training session planned this school year and two more during the summer break.
In order to account for teachers coming to the district and leaving the district, Fritch said they will also be training NPS teachers as guided inquiry instructors during the next year, cutting the cost of the professional development and increasing access to training.
Another step NPS administrators discussed at the March 20 meeting was creating and constantly updating digital citizenship courses for students, creating a reliable Wi-Fi network across each school and maintaining proper internet filters to protect students from harmful internet content.
“We really have scaled up, every day infrastructure is improving,” NPS Technology Services Director Jack Green said.
Green said the district is looking at rolling out devices for students in the fall.