|Detroit area districts plug into digital era with iPads, laptops|
|The Detroit News|
By: Shawn Lewis
|September 03, 2013|
Skye Miller will step over the threshold of a new school today and enter the high-tech era.
She’s a student at the Michigan Technical Academy, whose message reverberates in Metro Detroit schools that are easing away from textbooks: There’s an app for that.
The northwest Detroit charter school, established in 1995, is supplying about 1,100 of its kindergarten to eighth-grade students with iPads, at a cost of $600,000, as part of its “One to One iPad” program, Superintendent Jeremy Gillium said.
Skye, a 13-year-old eighth-grader, said she is excited about getting the tablet she’ll use for math, science, spelling and other courses.
“I love the iPad because you don’t have to use paper and pencils, and you won’t forget what the teacher says in the classroom,” she said.
Other schools are going digital, too.
Utica Community Schools is introducing 1,200 pieces of technology, including new laptops, iPads and whiteboards, for first-graders. The cost is about $2 million for the 25 elementary schools, funded through a recent bond issue.
The Macomb County district, the state’s second largest, also offers a free app that links parents and students to its UCS Mobile site, which offers regular school updates, lunch menus, athletic results and other information.
“Combined with our other social media sites, our parents and community can get the news they need directly from their phone or tablet,” Utica superintendent Christine Johns said.
In the classroom, Johns said district educators believe technology can help boost student performance. “For instance, our kindergarten students recently demonstrated a high level of achievement growth in a restructured program that uses technology to challenge them at their own pace, and through their own learning styles,” she said.
Given that success, the district is continuing the program for nearly 4,000 kindergartners this year and expanding it to about 2,000 first-graders.
At the Michigan Technical Academy, teachers were trained on using the iPad last month. They will be able to record their voices assigning homework to students, and can individualize those assignments, for students to play when they get home.
“Now, parents will be able to sit down next to their children and hear the teacher’s voice telling them what is expected,” said Rashida Stephens, 36, an instructional technology coordinator who trained the teachers.
Students entering their classrooms can scan a QR (quick response) code on each door to hear an introductory greeting from their teachers. In class, they’ll be able to scan a flag, for example, to hear the correct way to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Skye’s mother, Mona Miller, whose son, fifth-grader Mekhi Miller, 11, also will attend the school, described it as a “great program.”
“Now they’ll have a chance to get ahead like in the suburban schools,” the mother said. “We tend to miss out on that in the city.”
Gillium expressed a similar sentiment.
“There’s a digital divide between advantaged districts and families, and economically disadvantaged districts and families,” he said.
First-grade teacher Chanda Levene, 37, of Sterling Heights was in the training class taught by Stephens. She was learning how to use the iPad for the first time.
“I’m excited about all the things we can do, all that the kids can do and how it will expand the classroom beyond these walls,” said Levene. “Students can continue learning on a deeper level. I’m trying to get all my questions in now so I’ll be comfortable with what I’m doing.”
As Conventional Public Schools Fail Transparency Law, Charters are Targeted Pontiac Public Schools posts teachers' contract that expired in 2011
Central Michigan University chartered schools
rank high in MEAP scores
Substitute teacher accused of assaulting first graders banned from all NHA charter schools
Muskegon Heights ends contract with charter school company
MI gubernatorial candidate wants to dismantle charter schools
Charter school CEO says Muskegon Heights schools owes company $2 million
Must question charter school legislation
Our View: Michigan can learn from other states how to end its 'education recession'
Charter Schools Serve More Low-Income Students Than Conventional Districts
Arts education: A look at how Michigan's schools teach music, drama, painting and more
Contrary to Report, Charter Schools Get Less Money Per Pupil Than Conventional Schools
Charter school students to give testimony at candlelight vigil to support homeless youth
Parent: 'Even after my kids graduate I'll still come back and help this school'
Nexus Academy of Royal Oak Continues to Welcome Students to Innovative School
Michigan schools' financial crisis growing
Shannon to step down
Disinvestment, structural flaws harm Michigan schools
Should Michigan parents consider online charter schools?
Jackson Preparatory and Early College charter school receives $500,000 start-up grant
Do Charter Schools Hurt Public School Finances?
Detroit's Aisha Shule charter school to close Oct. 31
Charter school grows
Michigan bill seeks to combat cyberbullying in school
West Michigan educators react to Mackinac Center study on 'flawed' school ranking system
3 Metro Detroit teachers finalists for Charter School Teacher of the Year
Muskegon's newest charter school combines Montessori methods with environmental research
Count Day nears for Michigan schools, with vital funds at stake
Poll Finds School Chiefs Lukewarm on School Boards
Michigan Laborers to protest Bay City Academy's handling of asbestos removal
Muskegon Heights charter schools monitor 'very impressed' by high school
Charter Enrollment Increases by
24 Percent in Washtenaw County
See which charter schools are attracting Ann Arbor students
Oakside Scholars Charter Academy Dedicated to the Community
Amid growth of Michigan charter schools, teachers often less experienced
Pressure on Mosaica to improve Muskegon Heights schools growing, documents show
See the 56 Michigan school districts with budget deficits
Feedback: Schauer needs to be schooled on cyber charters
Michigan ranks 11th in education reform group's list of 'parent power' states
School Year Begins With 298 Public Charter Schools in Michigan, Including 34 New Schools
Detroit area districts plug into digital era with iPads, laptops