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Domeracki: Engaging students in the digital age

Community Voice

This summer and throughout the coming school year, Community High School District 94 is preparing for our all-school one-to-one Chromebook digital conversion. Chromebooks are web-browsers that will become the new learning tool for each one of our students beginning with the 2015-16 school year. Currently, our building is being wired to provide Wi-Fi hotspots in every area of our school.

How does digital learning compare with book or paper and pencil learning? Student learning resources will be available online including formative quizzes, links to additional information, and interactive activities all designed to help the student with concepts and reinforce written material. Teachers can create online surveys to assess the progression of student learning and initiate blogs and forums to encourage student dialogue about the subject matter.

In the near future students will log on to their Google Docs account to complete homework assignments. Group projects can be accomplished by allowing each group member authorization to share and collaborate on assignments. Students will have access to online discussion boards so they can talk to other classes in our building or to classes around the globe.

Understanding that 100 percent of our students do not have Internet access at home, after-school homework time will be offered in the remodeled Commons and quiet learning time in the Learning Resource Center. We are continuing conversations to expand Internet access for students throughout the community.

Digital citizenship is part of our curriculum. Students learn how to use digital resources responsibly and conduct themselves appropriately on blogs and online discussion boards. They learn that their digital footprint will always be with them and that appropriate behavior is expected whether online or in person.

Chromebooks have been deployed to teachers and support staff so they can become familiar with them over the summer. In the fall, extensive staff development will take place to assist teachers in moving their lesson plans to the digital learning environment. Carts of Chromebooks will be available for classroom use so students can begin to use them. Student Google Docs accounts will be activated.

In this digital age we live in, schools must change to embrace technology to motivate and engage students in learning. We are excited about the opportunity to challenge, engage, focus and motivate our students to higher achievement and ownership of their learning.

Doug Domeracki is the superintendent of Community High School District 94.

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