Because the district is a New Tech Learning Model, project-based learning is a must.
Students, especially those in social studies, will download only the material they “need to know” to complete the task, said Whitlock.
“We will only be loading textbooks digitally if we own them currently and do not plan on downloading ‘new’ textbooks. We plan to move towards using classroom sets as resources, thus reducing the cost for parents and the district.”
Whitlock said the benefit for the district in making this switch is financial, but also, students will take ownership of their own learning–which Whitlock believes will engage students and reduce truancy.
The North Daviess “Living Textbook” initiative is funded within the state textbook laws and also from a general fund–Indiana law allows schools to adopt systemically organized material as textbooks, and this includes technology.
North Daviess will evaluate classes each year, as well as textbooks scheduled for adoption, to determine if a “new” textbook needs to be adopted or if the old textbook can be used as a classroom set and the content be driven using the resources currently available.
North Daviess has partnered with Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Matrix Integration to get the new HP Compaq Mini 2140 Notebook PC for $440 with a 3-year warranty. The student rental will be $55 for incoming ninth graders per year for 4 years and $73.33 per year for 3 years for incoming tenth graders. This yearly fee will be in place of the textbook rental fee for identified classes–which Whitlock says could be up to $120 per student per year.
The district will pay the same rate each year so the cost is equally divided between the district and the parents.
“This model will reduce the cost of textbooks to the district and parents. In line with the textbook rental framework, the student is charged a ‘rental’ fee for the laptop and content, equal to or below what a textbook would cost. The benefit of this program goes beyond reducing the cost of textbook rental. We will provide a solution that will allow the students to save web sites they visit and the research they complete at school. This allows a student without internet at home to have the same opportunities as those with internet to complete a project and be successful within the rigorous academic studies of the 21st century high school. At the end of four years, the computers will be declared surplus and the student will leave with their ‘living textbook,” explained Whitlock.
Whitlock believes that if a school his size with such a limited tax base can do this, so can any school.
“When there is a will and vision, there is a way. With the support of the superintendent, school board, and community, it can be replicated.”
Whitlock’s advice to other schools looking to implement “living textbooks” is to plan ahead.
“The imaging and inventorying has been the most time consuming, but prior implementation has been done by our technology staff and a volunteering college student.”
The district hopes to roll out four-year rotations of laptops in grades nine through twelve and then in grades five through eight.
Lake Weir High School
North Daviess Community School Corporation
Note to readers:
Don’t forget to visit the Empowering Education Through Technology resource center. Integrating technology into the classroom can be a challenge without the right guidance. Go to: Empowering Education Through Technology