This fall, Garland ISD is driving digital learning by distributing more than 16,000 iPads to high schoolers. Dubbed Ready 1:1, the initiative encourages students to be innovative, creative and prepared for 21st-century jobs. With an adoption rate of more than 90 percent at each high school, the district’s ingenious effort is off to an enthusiastic start.
“The kids were really excited to receive their iPads,” said Chief Information Officer Laurie Vondersaar. “We had a great time and the deployment process went well.”
Funded by GISD’s 2014 Bond, iPads were issued by school through English classes from September-October. Once students received their digital devices, schools hosted celebratory rallies.
“Each high school campus took the time to do an iPad parade, which thanked not only the Board of Trustees, but also the Technology and Curriculum & Instruction staff, for all their support,” Vondersaar explained.
“The [parade] at Sachse was really a lot of fun,” added Trustee Larry Glick. “We did have the opportunity to go into three classrooms that were using the iPads and saw how innovative and advanced each of them were.”
To help expand students’ access to the Internet while they are not in class, GISD is extending high school library hours and partnering with local businesses. Late Night at the Library lengthens hours to 8 p.m. at a different high school four nights a week. The Wi-Fi Partners program also asks businesses to provide students free access to their Wi-Fi system. Participating establishments display a sticker on their storefront so they can be easily identifiable for students and families. There are currently more than 100 businesses enrolled in the program.
And to keep parents informed throughout the initiative, the district will continue to offer training, support and information sessions. High school parents are invited to the next 1:1 technology night from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 at North Garland High School.
For more information regarding Ready 1:1, visit the district website.