Archive for Monday, August 18, 2014

Lawrence schools: five cool gadgets

August 18, 2014


Nothing can take the place of a great teacher in a classroom, but technology can also broaden a student's educational horizon, providing schools with new, exciting tools. Here's a peek at five cool gadgets and high-tech systems in Lawrence schools.

Wireless infrastructure

This year, the entire district will enjoy an upgraded wireless infrastructure. Until now, Lawrence schools didn't have the capacity to support wireless devices such as iPads and laptops.

The change brings increased mobility to the classroom, said Jerri Kemble, Lawrence schools' assistant superintendent for educational programs and technology.

"It's a huge piece of making everything else happen," she said. "It will allow students and teachers not to be tethered to a desk any longer."

Mobile laptops

The school district has gifted more than 3,000 mobile laptops to its schools for the upcoming year. The Macbook Air and Dell XPS computers will be made available to students and join the 1,000 laptops already set aside for teachers.

"Those mobile devices will really change what learning looks like in our classrooms," Kemble said.


This spring, the Lawrence school board approved the purchase 125 iPads for each middle school and 600 for the K-12 blended classrooms, Kemble said. It brings the total number of district-purchased iPads to 1,100.

The tablets will allow students to become "content creators and not just content consumers," Kemble said. Among the benefits of an iPad in the classroom: Students can shoot and produce their own films.

The school district is also looking into the possibility of fusing robotics with the iPads. Last year, a Lawrence Virtual High School student used a telepresence robot (essentially an iPad on wheels) to attend prom while she was away in California.

It's that kind of technology that Kemble wants to "integrate" into classrooms. Currently, the district has two iPad robots.

Cloud-based programs

Kemble said she's excited about the "utilization of online programs" in schools, such as Blackboard, eBackpack and Microsoft OneDrive.

These programs will enable teachers to provide more educational resources for students, accessible at home, at school and anywhere.

Students can also collaborate together on group projects online.

"They can write a paper on their phone if they want to," Kemble said.

Lawrence Public Schools website

The district will unveil its new website Oct. 31, a move that Kemble said will "allow more community and parent engagement with our schools."

Teachers can add videos and links while visitors to the site will enjoy more interactive features.

For example, parents and students can create their own event calendars to align with their schedules.

"If I'm a parent and I have one student in volleyball and another in football, I can create my own dashboard of information that is very personal to me," Kemble said. "Our parents will be able to personalize the information they get."


Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Very very interesting ………..

Lawrence educational opportunities just jumped a few notches in addition to the other few notches i believe Blended Learning brings.

Way to go !!!

Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Teachers are fighting back - Telling the Waltons "Leave Public Education Alone"

No to Walmart-Style Classrooms !!!!

Dear Walmart Owner Rob Walton: I’m standing with teachers to call on your family to immediately stop funding attempts to close our schools and take much needed funding from public education.

Why to Act Now:

We all know that Walmart has a bad reputation when it comes to the treatment of their workers. What you may not know is that the Walton family, who owns Walmart, is also trying to spread the Walmart business model to our classrooms.

Through their family foundation, the Waltons have spent more than $1 billion to support the privatization of our public schools. They’ve funded an aggressive corporate education agenda that has resulted in mass school closures and moving our public education tax dollars to for-profit schools.

Most troublesome, the Waltons often seek to close schools in the very same low-income communities of color where their workers reside.

Now, teachers are fighting back. Across the country, educators have started to speak out against Walton-funded school closures. One Philadelphia school teacher even launched a petition calling on his peers to shop elsewhere until the Waltons change their way.

As community members, we need to support teachers who are bravely speaking out for the future of our schools and our children. Sign this petition to call for an end to the Walmartization of education!

Background: From dozens of school closures to fighting against universal pre-K, the Walton family is using its massive Walmart fortune to undermine our public schools. We know that poverty is one of the biggest factors affecting student achievement.

As owners of the largest private employer in America, the Waltons have the opportunity to single handedly raise hundreds of thousands of moms and dads out of poverty.

Instead, they not only actively work against our nation’s public education system, but continue to contribute to the economic insecurity that keeps so many kids from getting the education they need and deserve.

Sign The Petition: [url][/url]

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