In education today, students and teachers are increasingly relying on the use of electronic devices for technology-based learning.

At Graham Junior High School, there are not enough devices for each student and teacher to use for lessons, assignments and presentations — but that’s about to change. The GISD school board approved the purchase of iPad minis and protective cases for the one-on-one iPad initiative at the school. The $263,000 expenditure will pay for 615 iPad Minis and Otterbox cases. The funds were originally intended for the construction of a multipurpose activity room at GJHS, but will instead be used to purchase the devices and possibly renovate the current school library. GJHS Principal Joe Gordy said that the iPad Minis and possible renovation of the library is beneficial to students socially and educationally.

“I have classes daily that are going somewhere to meet, the old gym, new gym, cafeteria and hallways outside of their classes to collaborate (in technology-based learning),” said Joe Gordy, GJHS principal. “When kids get together to collaborate and work interactively, we started seeing the greatest educational impact. And, I think learning in a studio setting can really be a hub of academic focus for our campus, so possibly doing a renovation on the existing library space and possibly trying to put an iPad in each students’ hands (would help).” 

Initially, GJHS Principal created the Bring Your Own Technology Program in an effort to make up for insufficient device inventory in the classrooms. Although the program worked in many ways, not all students carried devices that supported specific applications used in the classroom, and some didn’t have a device at all. 

“BYOT has been a success on campus, and instructional practices are beginning to transform to more activity-based,” Gordy said. “A lot of (devices) didn’t have internet connectivity and a lot of students have shelved those devices for school (use), and they don’t have technology ability.”

The iPad initiative will better align lessons learn through technology in the classroom, while providing each student with their own device to be used at school. 

Read more in Sunday's Graham Leader.