On a mission to develop more critical thinkers who can collaborate with one another, openly share ideas, and function successfully in tomorrow’s work environment, our district recently kicked off a technology overhaul. We started with our classroom furniture and worked our way right up to Boxlight table displays and projectors that allow students to collaboratively dissect roller coasters in a small-group setting or work together in a whole-class setting to go through tough math problems.
We started from the ground up to create environments where students feel welcomed, comfortable, and engaged. We want them to walk in and immediately feel like they want to be a part of the learning environment. Here’s how we did it.
1. Pick a technology partner that lets you test-drive the goods.
I’d never buy a car without test-driving it first, so it’s nice when you can test out an app or a piece of technology—and turn your students and teachers loose on it—before making a purchase decision. In selecting the right technology partner and products, we looked for a company that would allow us to get hands-on with the technology before making an investment. We found what we were looking for in Boxlight and OnPoint.
2. Cater to your digital natives.
It’s really important that we create partnerships with companies that aren’t just there to hand out the next shiny piece of technology, but to design technology that’s interactive and easy to use. Because students will either accept or reject new technology within 10 to 15 minutes (tops), usability is a big consideration for our district. Our digital natives have fewer tech inhibitions that we do as adults—and no real fear of “breaking” it or using it improperly. They just keep looping around to identify the problem, attempt different solutions, and come up with the answers.
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