Technology has become an integral part of teaching and preparing our students for the future.
In our District, technology has changed the way teachers teach and children learn. Students are more engaged, and student achievement has increased to record-breaking levels. All of our students in grades K-12 use a school issued iPad to access digital materials and cultivate collaboration and creation skills. They also receive individualized instruction in all subjects, with the goal of enhancing and personalizing student learning.
Minnetonka began digitizing its curriculum in 2002 with the installation of its first SMART Boards. Today, all classrooms have SMART Boards, allowing teachers to bring a world of Internet resources into the classroom at high speeds thanks to our broadband fiber optic network, a multitude of WiFi access points, and a fast and secure single sign-on tool. That speed ensures precious instructional time is not wasted.
Sound field solutions in every classroom protect teachers' vocal chords, reduce voice strain and allow every student to hear their teachers as if he or she was sitting in the front row.
Teachers are trained on how technology can be used in their classrooms and weaved into the curriculum to increase student engagement in learning. Minnetonka does not rely on third-party apps to teach content. Our teachers use Minnetonka's digitized curriculum.
Understanding and giving context to a tough English text can be difficult for students. Lessons that integrate technology, and that are aimed at stretching student thinking, can overcome this. Students are more likely to explore possible interpretations when using collaborative resources than they would be in an isolated environment. With iPads, the Internet, Google Docs, Schoology, and more at their fingertips, students can share ideas with classmates, receive immediate teacher or peer feedback, and make the learning material their own.
The iPad’s ability to more often and more efficiently administer formative assessments (pre-tests) and other student feedback has helped teachers personalize learning. Before 1:1 iPads, teachers relied on quizzes or other paper materials, which meant meaningful feedback was often delayed by a day or more. Now, they can provide feedback before, during and after class and quizzes can be instantly assessed and used to inform teaching that day or the next. Minnetonka teachers are continually finding new and innovative ways to provide students with feedback that are faster and more efficient than paper-based assessments. Whether it’s Google Forms, Socrative, Flipgrid, Padlet, Kahoot, Schoology, or TurnItIn, Minnetonka teachers can collect real-time feedback about student understanding and then customize instruction for that day and beyond based on that feedback.
All students’ voices can be heard and accounted for through electronic collection, as well. Compared to the traditional method of having students raise their hands to speak and only hearing from one or two individuals, the increased accountability placed on each student and the knowledge gain for the teacher about each of his or her students is invaluable.