From all of us in the Technology & Innovation Office, welcome (back) to school! While we haven’t had the seismic technology shifts this summer that we may have had last summer in many buildings, read on to learn about the new and ongoing technology initiatives underway in the district.
Secondary 1:1 Chromebook Program
Last year, we launched our 1:1 Chromebook program in all of our high schools, and this year we’ll be extending the program to our junior high schools as well. Over the coming days, junior high students, 9th graders, and other new high school students will receive district-issued Chromebooks. These devices only allow logins from @icstudents.org and @iowacityschools.org Google accounts, but are available for students to use at school and at home. In each building, students will receive digital citizenship instruction along with guidelines relating to acceptable use of district-issued Chromebooks. For more information, please check out or 1:1 Chromebook Program page.
Off-Campus Content Filtering and Parent/Guardian Controls
As was the case last year, we will be using Securly for internet content filtering when Chromebooks are off-campus. This service not only provides content filtering similar to what we have in place for on-campus devices, but it also provides parents/guardians the ability to view usage history and implement additional content filtering controls should they choose. Further, the primary guardian email contact for each student will receive a weekly email update that includes selected internet usage history; parents are free to opt out of this email notification by following the instructions on the email. For more information, please check out our Content Filtering and Parental Controls page.
Elementary Student Device Upgrades
On pace with our four-year schedule, we’ve implemented new student devices at Kirkwood, Mann, Lincoln, Shimek, Weber, Wood, and Borlaug Elementary Schools this year. In addition to providing better student to device ratios, buildings also have complete discretion with regards to what devices are deployed, and how they’re deployed in the building. To this end, it was not surprising that elementary schools this year overwhelmingly opted for Chromebooks, along with iPads for the youngest grade levels.
Classroom Technology Upgrades
Along with our device upgrades, the buildings listed above are also on the list for classroom technology suite upgrades, along with North Central JH, Northwest JH, and South East JH. Over the summer, crews completed upgrades at NCJH, NWJH, Twain, Borlaug, and Longfellow, while the upgrades are in progress in the remaining buildings and will be completed this fall. We’re excited about this upgrade, as it brings wireless voice amplification, wireless video, interactive projectors, and other improvements to our classrooms.
We launched our Virtual Application system last school year, and have worked hard over the summer to improve its offerings and performance. This system allows students and staff using Chromebooks or home computers to access a wide range of district software offerings – like AutoDesk or Adobe PhotoShop – from anywhere with an internet connection. Staff and students can access the system at http://apps.iowacityschools.org