Located 100 miles west of the nation’s capital, Shenandoah County Public Schools is a rural district serving 6,000 students across three campuses. Five years ago, the district started a 1:1 program in its middle schools. Today all students in grades K-12 have laptops.
The district has embraced digital learning through a variety of subscription-based software programs. “Students and teachers can consume content, and there is value in that,” says instruction technology supervisor Tim Taylor. “But now we have tools in place where students can produce content and videos to show what they’ve learned.” The 1:1 program allows teachers to differentiate instruction in the classroom, tailoring lessons to accommodate different learning styles.
Students also use their digital skills for larger projects. High schoolers developed a video news program about school sporting events. Middle schoolers worked with members of the community to research a school for African American students that burned down about 100 years ago – and apply for a historical marker. And high school students used STEM concepts to design and build a wheelchair ramp for a disabled member of the community.
One of the most valuable outcomes of the 1:1 program is increased access, says Taylor. “For kids who don’t have access to a device at home, or if there are four kids and one computer at home, now those kids have the access they didn’t have before.”