GISD-issued iPads enhance classroom

When many Garland ISD seniors were born, the Internet was still in its infancy. Research shows approximately 20 million Americans spent an average of 30 minutes a month online. Today, more than 245 million Americans spend an average of 30 hours a month on the World Wide Web. Given today’s tech-savvy, fast-paced world, it is not surprising that teaching has also evolved to better serve students.

That's why GISD armed every teacher with an iPad in 2014.

“The iPad has allowed me to reach students with a tool that they are very comfortable using,” said Lakeview Centennial High School English teacher Terrenee Knight. “Teachers are able to interface in a new way, with a multitude of apps that allow for differentiated instruction to occur. This gives a greater amount of students the opportunity to have their learning style met.”

GISD’s iPad initiative is part of the district’s Strategic Plan, a document developed during 2013-14 to guide decision-making through 2018. More than 2,000 students, staff, parents, business leaders, clergy members, city officials and more helped identify seven goals and the actions necessary to achieve them. Goal 2 calls for integrating more technology into the classroom to ensure students are future-ready. It also addresses access to digital tools for all students and staff.

In addition to the iPad deployment to teachers, GISD also implemented Bring Your Own Device. And, the district holds an iConference every July for teachers to brainstorm about effectively incorporating those devices into everyday lessons. Knight, who is among the attendees, said she is excited to be able to foster a dynamic 21st-century learning environment.

“Technology allows for the stigma of things being ‘too difficult’ to be taken away. It promotes student engagement and the teacher’s ability to make the classroom experience seamless and more productive.”