While recent years have seen an influx of digital tools that promise to transform learning and teaching, as content providers, we know that tablets and apps will not be effective alone. The future of the successful digital classroom depends on a holistic approach to transforming learning – one that leverages technology, but does not depend on it – that prioritizes the capacity of people to build creative solutions and usher in culture shifts to make learning more engaging and personalized.
Central Unified School District in Fresno, Calif. is one district taking this thoughtful approach. Students kicked off the school year last week with a new tool in their backpacks. Asus Android tablets were handed out to 15,500 K-12 students in the district, making Central Unified one of the first districts in the nation to employ a comprehensive 1:1 learning program for all its students by providing devices for personal, daily use at home and in the classroom.
But implementation began long before last week’s tablet distribution. Central Unified Superintendent, Michael Berg, has been devoted to this “digital transformation” process as an evolving and long-term project with the goal to make learning more dynamic and flexible. Over the past three years, the district has been working with strategic partners to design an implementation plan that focuses on a holistic transformation in classroom culture that allows students, educators and families to teach, learn and collaborate in new, empowering ways, whether they are plugged in or not. And because each student received an individual device, the program also creates a level of equity amongst classmates, some of whom may not have had access to such tools at home.
HMH is honored to be a part of Central Unified’s implementation story, which will no doubt offer guidance to districts throughout the country as they embrace new technologies. We’ve been working alongside many dedicated folks in Fresno to ensure smooth digital delivery of our Journeys and GO Math! programs to students’ tablet, as well as to design overarching content management tools and offer robust professional development to administrators and educators.
Congrats, Central Unified School District – we can’t wait to see what the future holds!