Lowndes County to buy digital devices for students

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 28, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.



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COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — Every child in the Lowndes County School District will soon have access to a personal digital device.

The Commercial Dispatch reports (http://bit.ly/1mqFHDi ) the district is partnering with Apple in the upcoming school year so each of the district's roughly 5,000 children will have access to a laptop or an iPad.

The program is called 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative.

Assistant Superintendent and Curriculum Coordinator Dr. Robin Ballard said the partnership will help students prepare for life beyond their school years. "The Lowndes County School District is embarking on an exciting venture that will take their students well into the 21st century college and workforce poised for success," Ballard said.

Ballard said the program uses a comprehensive integration of technology into the curriculum.

"This is a program where innovative and engaged learning experiences envelope the student in meaningful and relevant application of knowledge and skills," Ballard said.

She said the program, which will be implemented over the next two years, will cost the district about $3.5 million over a four-year period.

Ballard said the program will occur in two phases.

"In Phase 1, the 2014-2015 school year, each of our teachers and administrators will receive a MacBook Pro (laptop computer) for school and home use and in Phase 2, (the 2015-2016 school year), all students in grades K-12 will receive a new device.

"Students in grades K-2 will receive an iPad Mini, students in grades 3-5 will receive a larger size iPad, and these devices will remain at school. Students in grades 6-12 will receive MacBooks for school and home use."

Today's students have grown up in the digital age, so using the technology in school is a natural progression, she said.

"We realize our students come to us as 'digital natives,' meaning their learning styles and modes are different from students five-to-10 years ago and we must rise to this challenge in order to truly teach the whole child," she said.

By providing one-on-one technology options, Ballard said students are poised for success.

"It has been shown through research that technology-rich classes and schools promote school-home outreach, increased assessment scores, increased attendance for students and staff, a shift in instructional style to a more problem-based approach, fewer discipline problems, a higher parental involvement in school-related activities, and to be an overall boost for morale," she said. "We can't wait to see this in action in our schools."

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Information from: The Commercial Dispatch, http://www.cdispatch.com

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The Associated Press

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