Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 17, 2013

Taylor mulls one-to-one tech plan

Superintendent to present plan at March board meeting

By Lindsey Ziliak
Tribune staff writer

— Taylor Community School officials are moving forward with a plan to implement one-to-one technology district-wide.

Superintendent John Magers will submit a plan to the school board by March for approval.

Freshmen, sophomores and juniors at the high school already have take-home Netbooks as part of the transition to the New Tech approach. Seniors will have them by next year.

Magers wants to extend the technology to the middle, intermediate and primary schools, too.

It’s important, he said.

“If you don’t have the technology, you’re not up to speed in education anymore,” he said. “It seems like every school in Central Indiana is doing something.”

And they’re reaping the benefits. Schools are beginning to see that the technology has a positive impact on student achievement, the superintendent said.

“That’s a byproduct we’re looking forward to seeing,” he said.

The hangup in these projects is usually finances. It’s a huge investment for schools, Magers said.

But for Taylor, it’s an investment that needs to be made, Magers said.

All of the schools in the district are moving toward more project-based learning. Students will need their own devices to complete those projects, Magers said.

But what kind of devices will students get?

“It sounds like a simple process, but deciding which type of technology to use can be frustrating at times,” Magers said.

Taylor Technology Director Pat Benerotas agreed.

Officials have been working on this plan for at least two years. And there’s been a shift in technology from desktops to laptops and now from laptops to tablets, he said.

What they will go with remains to be seen.

Magers said right now they’re thinking iPads at the intermediate, middle and primary schools.

They haven’t reached a final answer on whether students will be able to take those devices home, either.

At the primary school, they will likely stay in the classrooms at least at first, Magers said. But he said he has no qualms with letting other students take their devices home.

“Because of the 21st century approach we’re taking to learning, it’s important they have access to this technology 24 hours a day,” he said.

Officials will iron out the details in the next month and present the plan at the March board meeting.

“In five years, we’ve really changed our attitudes about technology,” Magers said. “People are really on board with this.”

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