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District Expands Technology to More Grade Levels

Oxford, Mississippi (January 28, 2020) — During the 2020-2021 school year, the Oxford School District will be replacing student MacBooks with iPads and expanding technology resources to two elementary campuses. The district will issue new 7th generation iPads to 3rd-12th grade students equipped with district supported apps and digital tools that support classroom instruction.  Currently, grades 3-6 share iPad carts between classrooms greatly limiting the utilization of technology as a learning tool.

The district’s new strategic plan includes goals of “building effective learning environments while demonstrating fiscally responsible practices”. Providing devices for grades 3-12 will cost approximately the same as providing laptops to only middle and high schoolers. This change will also result in a reduction to the student tech fee and a damaged device can be instantly replaced whereas MacBooks require a longer turn around time. All of the district’s software applications such as PowerSchool, Schoology, Naviance, eSpark, BrainPop, IReady, Lexia Reading, etc. are iPad compatible.

In 2015, the district began its one-to-one initiative by issuing MacBook laptop computers to all 7th-12th graders. “We were novice users in the integration of technology in classroom instruction when we began, now we have had five years to learn. If we could go back, we would put less emphasis on the device and more emphasis on how technology integration impacts classroom instruction and student learning,” said Assistant Superintendent Bradley Roberson.

Learning first and technology second is the focus of expanding students’ access to technology and infusing learning with innovation in the Oxford School District. “When making decisions about utilizing technology, administrators and teachers must start with the learning goals in mind and then determine if technology can enhance or transform the learning process,” Roberson added.



The district’s goals are to build and strengthen students’ abilities in critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creation through deep learning of content and effective use of technology by:

  1. Increasing student opportunities to effectively use digital tools to present evidence of learning. 
  2. Infusing the district’s curricula with innovative technological practices.
  3. Teaching our students to be safe, respectful, and reflective users of technology (screen time, social media safety and privacy, security with usernames and passwords).
  4. Designing professional learning opportunities for staff to learn about innovative instructional practices.

“At Della Davidson Elementary we use SeeSaw- a digital portfolio used to capture and present evidence of student learning. Since it is web-based, this allows parental engagement from any device and allows a teacher to differentiate instruction among students. By having iPads for every 3rd and 4th grader in my building, we are going to be able to enhance and transform instruction,” said Della Davidson Principal, Marni Herrington.
 District staff will begin training on iPad classroom integration in January 2020. Students will pick up their district-issued iPad prior to the start of school in August 2020.

Commonly asked questions:

  • Will students be allowed to take their iPad home?
    All 7th -12th graders will be allowed to take their iPad home, 3rd-6th graders will leave iPads at school.

  • Will the iPad have the same software options?
    The district has investigated the district-sponsored software applications to confirm iPad compatibility with a web-based version. Since students do not have the ability to install software on their computers, they will not be limited by an iPad. All platforms used in the district are web-based.
  • What features will the iPad have?
    
The 7th generation iPad weighs about one pound and will come with BlueTooth and a Logitech Rugged Combo 3 case with a keyboard. It has a new advanced operating system with enhanced video features and a 10.2-inch retina display. Students will be able to connect an SD card or jump drive with various adapters.