“We’re at the point with our Internet where we don’t have to worry about it limiting anything,” says Patrick Stalvey, the Chief Information Officer of South Bend Community School Corporation. “We tell the teachers, ‘whatever you can dream, we can do. We have the bandwidth.’”
To that end, South Bend has implemented a 1:1 program in grades 1-12 and has a team of digital integration specialists (one in each school) who work with teachers to identify and implement new technologies in the classroom. The specialists meet with their peers once a month to find out what’s working on other campuses. Some successes include robotics clubs, making storybooks with coding apps, and using vocabulary quizzes that engage students and give teachers real-time feedback on student progress.
To support professional development, the district lets teachers earn micro-credentials for implementing new digital learning programs and awards corresponding badges for their email signature files and stickers for their doors. These visual elements are significant because they encourage communication between teachers looking for more ways to innovate in their classrooms.
All students participate in the national “hour of code,” but the district takes it further with a full week of digital citizenship activities, where students learn about potential careers – and how to use the Internet responsibly.