In Menlo Park City School District, we believe in the power of technology to facilitate communication, collaboration, and creativity. Hillview Middle School, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is that place where we imagine what education will look like in ten years, and we start to build it now. We are truly fortunate to have the support of our Board of Directors, Superintendent, Foundation, and our hard-working district Tech department in making our 1:1 iPad Program a reality.
We are continuing with our 1:1 iPad+ (More than just iPads!) Program in 2017-2018. Last year at Hillview, our iPad highlights included:
- All students had an iPad as a learning tool from the very beginning of the school year.
- For 6th graders, Hillview's "Digital Drivers License" program educated them on how to use the device efficiently and responsibly, and earning the license will be a prerequisite for them to take their iPads home later in the fall. The components of this program will include such units as internet safety and security, digital footprint and reputation, information literacy, and copyright and academic integrity, and it will continue even after students take home their devices.
Hillview first piloted the 1:1 program in the 2010-2011 school year. A single 8th grade academy was issued iPads, and after a successful implementation, that pilot expanded in 2012-2013, to the entire 8th grade. We began the 2013 - 2014 school year with the 8th graders again using iPads from day one, but then distributed the devices to 7th graders in January and to 6th graders in February.
As we fully rolled out our iPad 1:1 program during the 2013 -2014 school year, our staff engaged in meaningful professional development around fully utilizing the iPad's potential. We sent a team of teachers to Boston to Ed Teach Teacher's "iPad Summit," and another team to the spring summit in San Diego. in addition, Hillview put on a special mini-conference on January 6, entitled, "Learning Reimagined." During this conference, teachers heard an inspiring keynote address from Justin Reich, a well-regarded thought leader in technology implementation, and attended three workshops on various iPad-related topics. We are excited about how the iPads will improve the learning experience for Hillview students.
For our middle school students, as the so-called "millennial generation," technology is a a key component in how they define themselves. Unlike the adults who grew up in a world without Internet and smartphones, our students, from the time they have been literate, have had access to touch screen technology. Our kids are wired for technology, so why have them "power down" when they come to school? Why not leverage technology as a powerful and engaging tool to enhance their learning? With the iPad and such services as Edmodo and Google Drive, our students now take full advantage of mobile devices and cloud computing to become better communicators, collaborators, and creators.