Teachers in the Jackson County School System are gearing up for the 1:1 Chromebooks for the 2019-2020 school year.  In preparation for this huge event, 29 teachers are participating in a pilot program this spring.  They are excited about the possibilities this will bring to their students.

The teachers selected to take part in the pilot program range across all grade levels and subjects.  Last week this group of teachers gathered for more training on the Chromebooks. 

The enthusiasm builds among the educators as they discover more about this addition to their classrooms.

 “I’m excited that we have been able to get our teachers another resource/tool for instruction,” said Jackson County Superintendent Kevin Dukes.  “I always think about the saying, ‘If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our child for tomorrow’.”

Each teacher in the pilot program received a classroom set of Chromebooks to use this spring.  They also received fact to face training on meaningful use of technology.

Shannon McClain, instructional technology specialist for Jackson County Schools, is conducting the training.  She said that these teachers also formed professional learning communities within their grade levels/subject area. 

“They are virtually connecting with one another using technology to share ideas and resources they are using during their pilot,” she added.

 “These teachers will present to their peers at Edcamp on August 1 demonstrating an effective lesson using the Chromebook along with general advice and tips on management and meaningful use of technology in their classrooms as they experienced it during the pilot program,” said McClain.

It is obvious from the reaction of the teachers involved in this pilot that great things are on the way to all students in the Jackson County schools. 

 “Taking part in this wonderful experience has completely reinvigorated my classroom!” said Shannon Moore of Rosalie Elementary.  “Student engagement is through the roof, and we’ve all learned so much from each other.  There’s a big, bun world of educational technology out there, and Jackson County students are going to get to experience that!”

Bridgeport Elementary teacher Mechele Mosley feels privileged to have been selected to be part of the pilot program.

 “These new tools are really going to help bridge a gap between traditional educational tools and the sensory disabilities some students struggle to overcome,” Mosley said.  

She feels this will level the playing field and give every student the chance for success.

 “My students and I absolutely love the Chromebooks,” said Pisgah teacher Tara Kirby.  

She said that the Chromebooks are creating a high level of student engagement.  

“They are helping to better prepare our students for the global demand of computer engineers, system administrators, technology coordinators, data scientists, and other  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) professions,” said Kirby.  “We are very blessed to have this opportunity within our county.”

Woodville High School teacher Robyn Shelton feels this opportunity will help the students become more proficient with technology. 

“It will help them achieve better understanding in all subjects in their school careers,” she added.  “The Apps and online manipulatives and labs make learning more interesting and allow the students to ‘see’ concepts they may not have had an opportunity to witness without the Chromebooks.  I feel the 1:1 initiative will afford all Jackson County students the opportunity to flourish.”

  “I have told my students that they are experiencing a change in the history of Jackson County Education,” added Nia Stivers of North Jackson High School.  “One day, they will be able to say, ‘I was in one of the first classes to experience doing our schoolwork with Chromebooks’.  It’s exciting, it’s needed, and it’s reinvigorating my classroom!”

North Sand Mountain teacher Ashley Wilks said that the Chromebooks Pilot Program has transformed her classroom into a more student-centered environment in a short period of time. 

“I have been amazed at how quickly my students have caught on to these new digital tools,” said Wilks.

  “During the pilot program, I have found resources to use in the classroom that I never knew existed,” said Stephanie Johnson of Section High School. 

She loves that the assessments can provide automatic feedback and be adjusted to fit the needs of all students.

 “The opportunities with Chromebooks are endless,” she added.  “Students never get bored, and they always have something educational to do in the classroom.”

North Jackson High School teacher Johnny Holman is finding the Chromebooks to be a good tool to enhance the educational experience for the students. 

“I really enjoy using them to make the class more student-centered,” he added.  “I have developed a system where I create learning experiences for the students through a hyperdoc, an interactive notebook, or some other form of technology.  I have become a facilitator to the classes for the most part.   Students are able to work at their own levels and their own pace.”

  “The 1:1 initiative will, without a doubt, change education in Jackson County immensely,” said Section High School teacher Joey Swinford.   “We will be capable of doing things in our classrooms that we never before even thought were possible.”

Lara Fowler, Woodville High School English teacher, said the program has encouraged her students to collaborate with one another to become problem solvers. 

“From watching Virtual Reality videos to comparing setting in novels, to working as a group to research, gather, and present class notes, the Chromebooks have given students access to information on a global scale,” said Fowler.

She explained that students can track their own learning, and this has helped them take a more active role in their education.

“Jackson County is taking a huge leap forward in education with this Chromebook Pilot Program,” said Crissen Light of Bridgeport Middle School.  “I have already noticed a difference in the students’ engagement and willingness of collaboration and communication.  I love watching their little faces light up whenever I am able to take a lesson and throw a technology spin on it for enhancement.”

She is excited to see the new levels that can be reached with the students with the 1:1 Chromebooks next year.

These teachers and their students are learning more each day as they participate in the pilot program.  The educators are excited to share their experiences with their peers.  All feel this will be a great advancement for the school system.

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