@d181 Initiative Named Apple Distinguished Program
Posted January 16, 2013
Community Consolidated School District 181 Superintendent Dr. Renée Schuster is pleased to announce that the @d181 Initiative has been named an Apple Distinguished Program for the 2012-13 school year. The @d181 Initiative was first implemented in the 2011-12 school year with a mission to promote student creativity, problem solving and risk taking through the innovative use of technology. To that end, a committee of staff led action research on the effectiveness of 1:1 technology, providing two classrooms of students with either a MacBook Air laptop or iPad for each student and studying any change in levels of engagement, student achievement and the learning environment.
The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate Apple’s vision of exemplary learning environments.
Dr. Schuster notes, “The @d181 Committee led an exceptional effort to provide compelling data to our Board of Education and community about 1:1 technology, using a variety of methodologies to support their findings. Their work is truly deserving of this honor.” The selection of the @d181 Initiative as an Apple Distinguished Program highlights its successes in enhancing and extending teaching and learning with thoughtful and innovative implementations of technology.
Assistant Superintendent for Learning Dr. Janet Stutz, a member of the @d181 Committee notes, “Our understanding of the way that students learn has evolved over time. Educators see the value in true student engagement and have seen the way that devices and other tools can boost that engagement, with students diving deeper into the content of the curriculum.” Stutz adds that the state-mandated Common Core State Standards, being phased into schools throughout the country, require the infusion of technology into student learning. Director of Technology Eric Danley agrees: “The Common Core calls for students to excel in 21st century skills to ensure they are college- and career-ready. They must be creative, collaborative, critical thinkers, and strong communicators; the 1:1 learning environment is ideal for building that aptitude.”
The District 181 Board of Education approved a second year of action research by the @d181 Committee that is currently underway. The 5th grade teams from Elm School and The Lane School that participated last year are continuing their work in 2012-13; new participants are the 3rd grade team from Walker School and the Monroe School 4th grade team. Elm School 5th grade teacher Matt Haeger notes, “Our work on the @d181 committee has always been focused on the students: How do we prepare them for the world in which they live and for their future world? Intentional use of technology balanced with good teaching pedagogy will get them there. Knowing that we are helping to prepare our students to be successful is an honor and privilege.”
With a variety of grade levels and schools involved, the @d181 Committee believes the research will generate more robust data and will allow for more students to experience the benefits of 1:1 learning. A report on Year Two of the research is planned for a District 181 Board of Education meeting in May 2013.