Since the full implementation of the BYOD program at the start of the 2017-18 school year, digital learning has become a staple in the curriculum and culture at the Middle-High school, according to Superintendent Louise Demas. This marks the second year of their five-year technology plan largely based around the development of their digital learning initiative.
“It is all sort of working its way together, which is very exciting,” said Demas.
Student-centered learning, which shifts the focus of instruction from the teacher to the student, is one of the main pillars of the digital learning initiative. District Director for Digital Learning Sue Skeiber said the initiative will shift classroom instruction in a way that will give students both a voice and a choice in the classroom.
“We know that the real world these kids are going to ultimately enter is asking for them to be creative, and so we need to give them the opportunity to be creative, to be able to engage in their learning in a way they want to, and to have that voice and choice as they move forward,” Skeiber said.
School officials will also continue to offer professional development for teachers around digital learning as well as up-to-date tools for lessons and student engagement. Doing so, Skeiber said, will help teachers cater to student interest as implementation of the initiative continues.
Coordination between teachers and Information Technology staff at the Middle-High School has also proven key during the implementation of the initiative. Demas said the IT staff is both excited and open to learning about what teachers want to get out of the digital learning program and how they can support them in the process.
In addition to familiarizing students and faculty with the program, school officials hope to educate the community on the new style of learning, why they are embracing it, and how it benefits students and educators alike. Redesigning their delivery of instruction to cater to student-centered learning, Skeiber said, allows students to be more engaged.
“What is better than having students engaged in what they are doing?” she asked.
The schools recently received a grant from the Cohasset Education Foundation to expand upon their digital learning program by funding the purchase of a Google Expeditions Augmented Reality Kit for grades 6 through 12, allowing students to explore virtual reality.
School officials will continue to assess the next steps of the initiative as time progresses, including the status of the ClassLink and iPass programs in the classroom and whether or not to move forward with them in the future. For now, however, digital learning in Cohasset Public Schools continues to bloom.
“By and large, it has been a great beginning,” said Skeiber.