District eyes new use of technology in classroom

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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Boyd ISD took a step forward in updating the use of technology in instruction at all the campuses Monday night when they hired a consulting firm to help analyze the needs of the district and also help the district apply for grants to help cover the cost implementing new technologies.

The board voted 6-0 to hire VST Services for a cost of $250 per month. Any extra cost for extra work would be negotiated.

It’s just one step as the district looks to move toward a one-to-one student-to-computer or similar device ratio across all campuses.

“When we make this decision, it will be as significant as any building we’ve built,” Superintendent Ted West told the board. “We would have to purchase 650 iPads to put in the hands of every elementary and middle school student in the district. That would cost $400,000 and only reach half our students.

“To reach all of them is a $1 million commitment. Before I ask you to make that kind of commitment we need to get all the expertise and research we can first.”

West said he’s visited some other campuses, such as Bridgeport and Northwest, to see how they’ve implemented technology in the classroom. He plans on visiting more.

“If we’re behind other districts, let’s take advantage of being behind and see what other schools have done,” West said. “Let’s see what works and what doesn’t.”

As part of this process, the district will conduct a survey of students, parents and teachers. The survey will attempt to learn what kind of access students have to computers, the Internet and other types of technology at home and what they are looking for.

Board member Jana Tate asked if teachers are wary of new technology in the classroom.

“Our teachers are biting at the bit,” said intermediate school principal Nina Coody.

West said the school is in good shape financially. And if they do choose to make a major investment in technology, it should not require any type of bond referendum to cover the costs.

“There is still a lot of discussion that needs to go on first,” West said. “We’re still researching it.”

The board also approved a set of district goals Monday. The first one of those goals reads “Boyd ISD will provide technology opportunities for all teachers, staff and our diverse student population to meet the demands of the 21st century.”

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