Serving more than 161,000 students in 191 different schools, including STEM magnets, the Wake County Public School System began its digital integration several years ago with a 3:1 program. The district also trained teachers on the best ways to incorporate technology in their classrooms to help their students learn. Now, with a solid foundation in place, they can add more devices to capitalize on what both teachers and students have learned.
In addition to the 3:1 program, each student has a digital portfolio. Teachers help students organize and add artifacts to their “digital backpacks,” especially ones that highlight students’ critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills. As they build their portfolios, students are encouraged to reflect on what they’ve learned, how difficult the project was, and what they might do differently next time.
As the demand for makerspaces grows, digital learning coordinators help teachers plan lessons incorporating robots and other digital learning devices. “Our focus is on making sure that it is more than just a fun activity, that it is intentional work, that the standards are the focus of the learning,” says Senior Director of Digital Learning Allison Reid. Even more important, she says, is equity. “Not having access to technology can be a huge detriment for a student, so we want to make sure we can level that playing field. But it’s not about the device itself.”