Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Blending Netbooks, Tablets, and Digital Curriculum

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Blending Netbooks, Tablets, and Digital Curriculum

Article excerpt

Three years ago, as part of a curriculum review, the leaders of Staples Motley Schools in Staples, MN, were debating how to put more computing power into their students' hands. As part of that strategy, the 1,400-studant district was looking to create a blended learning environment that would carry it forth for at least four years--if not longer.

"Our principal at the time asked us to start preparing for a 48-month time frame--not just one year," recalls Clay Houselog, a high school physical science teacher. "We wanted something futuristic."

Getting there would require a major effort from the district and its teachers, who were working with 20th century technology, a tight budget, and a student body that was both underwhelmed and disengaged. With some government funding available, Principal Ryan Luft and his team considered which hardware, software, and curriculum options were available to help Staples Motley create a "backbone" for a digital learning program.

The district was already using Odysseyware's online e-learning solutions for credit recovery, so it sew potential in using the same vendor to help it develop a 21st century blended learning environment. "The solution fit with what we were doing in the classroom and our desire to advance and change," says Houselog, "so we started using their curriculum to get ourselves and our students into the digital world."

As part of that initiative, the district initially invested in classroom sets of netbooks, which Houselog said enable easier typing/data entry than tablets, and also tend to work better with the software that the district chose. …

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