Students at Sandra Day O’Connor High School are receiving iPads this school year through the Tech Rich program.

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Technology take-over through Tech Rich program

Savannah Tidd~ 8/6/2014

PHOENIX – Multi-colored Five Star notebooks, a three-ring binder, a plethora of mechanical pencils that all will be misplaced within a week, highlighters, pens, and other essential tools to start a new school year inhabit a high school student’s backpack.

However, a Sandra Day O’Connor High School student`s bag is much slimmer with an iPad, a stylus, a charger, and the occasional pen or pencil for math class.

Technology is not only changing the way people communicate, but also how they learn. The traditional paper textbooks are being replaced with shiny new devices that can give a student access to all the resources they will need to succeed.

The new school year is about to commence, and for SDOHS, this means full immersion as a Tech Rich school.

According to Nicole Duquette, assistant principal, the goal of the Tech Rich program is to develop students’ 21st century skills and give them greater opportunities for learning.

Last year SDOHS piloted this initiative with only a handful of students, and the experience was very positive.

“According to survey results, the students loved the digital environment and the freedom the iPad gave them in accessing and evaluating new information,” said Brad Brazell, assistant principal.

 Because of this encouraging outcome, every student will now be given either a full-sized or a mini iPad for this school year.

SDOHS is not the only school diving into this switch to technology. Other high schools in the Deer Valley Unified School District will start the pre-implementation process in order to benefit their students.

Not only will it benefit students now, but it will also prepare them for life after high school in order to live in a tech rich world, according to Dr. Lynn Miller, principal.

The possibilities for learning are endless. As the world keeps spinning faster and smart phones replace flip phones, it is vital that even schools keep up with the current changing times.

“It is important for parents and students to know that incorporating mobile digital learning provides students with unprecedented access to resources, collaboration, creating, producing, and evaluating,” said Dr. Gayle Galligan, associate superintendent. “It is equally important that students learn how to be good digital citizens and demonstrate proper netiquette.”

The potential for personal devices does bring its challenges, including students accessing inappropriate material online and keeping them safe in the virtual realm.

The opportunities that will be available to students at SDOHS to grow and learn 21st century style make the possible hindrances worthwhile.

“iPads make information accessible at my fingertips. It’s easy and quick to research topics or put together a PowerPoint presentation,” said Kendall Melton, student at SDOHS. “I love that everything I need is in one little device.”

iPads and gadgets similar are changing the learning environment. Students no longer have to lug heavy textbooks around campus, and schools are going paperless, which saves money and the environment.

“Every dollar saved on a textbook can be utilized to enrich and enhance student learning for the digital era,” said assistant principal Duquette. “This is the future of education. We are preparing students today to excel in jobs that will solve problems that the world cannot yet anticipate.”

The dawning of this new age begins Aug. 11. For students and teachers alike, school will never be the same.