Technology use to triple at Round Lake 116 schools
The number of classrooms at Round Lake Area School District 116 with laptops or iPads will triple in January to 90, after the school board voted Monday expand the district's "1:Wonder" program.
The program started in the 2016-2017 school year in 30 classrooms spread across the district.
Dejan Kozic, the district's director of technology and innovation, said participating teachers are free to use the technology as they see fit.
"We're doing this with our teachers, not to them," Kozic said. "From our viewpoint, they're the ones who know what needs to be done in the classroom and we're just the ones who are helping them."
Teachers are using a variety of software, and some students are allowed to take the computers home with them while others aren't.
That sense of variety even extends to the devices themselves, with students receiving iPads, Windows laptops or Chromebooks, depending on how their teachers want to use the technology.
"The goal is to have a variety of teachers, ages, levels, platforms and models, so we can see what's working and what will benefit Round Lake moving forward," said Cariee Gibson, who leads the district's instructional technology efforts as talent development coordinator.
Gibson said one of the things uniting each of the disparate technology experiences is the goal of using computers to help students improve on what they call the "4 Cs" -- Creativity, Collaboration, Critical thinking and Communication.
Kozic said the "1:Wonder" program would have expanded before the start of the school year rather than halfway through it if it weren't for the state's fiscal uncertainty.
The $100,000 annual cost to lease devices for the first 30 classrooms is funded by a federal grant. The state is going to pick up the $200,000 yearly tab for the additional 60 classrooms.
Kozic said the district wants to slowly expand the program.
"We know it's a huge investment and we're in it to make sure it works," he said.