One of the FISD Strategic Plan strategies is to design innovative learning environments for all students. Parents, students and staff members who served on the Innovative Learning Tactic Team charged the district to provide school-issued devices to every student at FISD by 2022. FISD is excited to share that this action item has been completed almost two years early. While COVID-19 accelerated the need for a one-to-one environment, the impetus of the implementation of a large-scale device deployment was based on creating more engaging learning opportunities for students.
According to Dr. Rhonda Wade, Superintendent, creating an innovative learning environment isn’t just about putting devices in the hands of every student, it’s also about the instructional opportunities it provides teachers. “A one-to-one learning environment allows teachers to provide more student-centered instruction through personalized learning paths. Digital tools will allow students more opportunities to think critically and develop creative solutions in a collaborative manner,” Wade explained.
In January, the FISD Technology Committee defined standard technology for each learning environment. The committee of teachers, administrators and campus technology leaders felt it was important to make sure that the devices students received were developmentally and instructionally appropriate. They determined the best fit for younger students (grades Pre-K-1) would be iPads and the best fit for older students (grades 2-12) would be Chromebooks.
But there is more to the initiative than devices. It also requires an infrastructure that can support a one-to-one environment. According to FISD Technology Coordinator James Urbanczyk, creating and maintaining a robust network infrastructure is not a one-time task, but rather an ongoing process that must adapt to both current and future needs. “Over the last five years, we have doubled the wireless coverage in every school and now have 100% coverage in each building, increased local network speed and capacity to accommodate a minimum of 60 devices in each classroom, and increased our internet bandwidth, through a strategic consortium of Education Service Center Region 20 member districts, to a speed of 20 times more than before,” said Urbanczyk.
Sherri Bays, FISD Superintendent, is excited about the opportunities going one-to-one provides students. “This will change the way students learn at FISD. It puts every student on equal footing as they work to maximize their potential. We are creating lifelong learners who won’t be afraid to use new technologies and resources as they enter the workforce. I want to thank the Technology Department, the Teaching and Learning Department and the many parents, students and staff members on the Strategic Plan team for their hard work to make this happen for the students and teachers of FISD.”