District Technology Initiative
As approved by the Board of Education in May 2016, District 401 began implementing a 1:1 Technology Initiative that called for every student at Elmwood Park High School to be equipped with a laptop device by 2018-19 and for Elm Middle School students to follow by 2019-20.
In fact, full 1:1 implementation at EPHS took place in August 2018 and at Elm in January 2019, half a year ahead of schedule. Each student at those schools is equipped with an internet-connected Chromebook, which must be used in accordance with the District's Chromebook Policy.
Meanwhile, Elmwood and John Mills elementary schools have benefited from the movement of existing laptop carts from the high school and middle school, so that all teachers and students have increased opportunities for the instructional uses of technology throughout the day.
In addition, Google educational tools and apps have saturated the District, with all grade levels operating under Google Classroom.
Preparing for the Change
To prepare for this change, District administrators and the Board of Education visited other school districts to study their 1:1 programs. Then they committed to professional development and hired new staff members to help support the initiative.
Teachers and support staff began receiving G Suite for Education training from the District's new IT team so they could effectively incorporate technology in the classroom and help students become digital learners. (G Suite for Education is a collection of web-based applications formerly known as "Google Apps for Education.")
In addition to teacher training, improvements to technology infrastructure and bandwidth continue to be made.
A District Technology Committee, established in the fall of 2016, helps determine curriculum needs related to technology, digital citizenship, cyberbullying, student professional development, and parent and community outreach.
Technology and Student Learning
G Suite for Education consists of free web-based word processing, calendar, presentation, drawing, email, forms and spreadsheet programs that will soon be available for all District 401 students. These services are entirely online and available 24/7 from any internet-connected device.
Using these tools, students are able to work collaboratively to create, edit and share files and websites for school-related projects. Students in grades 3-12 are able to communicate via email with teachers and other students.
As former D401 Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nicolas Wade said during the early stages of the District Technology Initiative: “Technology is a universal key to unlocking student engagement for students at all skills and levels. It encourages personalized, individualized learning."
Affordable Home Internet Access
If you don't have high-speed internet access at home, you might be eligible for Comcast's "Internet Essentials" package.
Under this package, Comcast provides high-speed internet to your home for $9.95 per month (plus tax). Details are available on our Comcast Affordable Internet Access page.
To Learn More
In late January and early February 2017, the District held a series of community forums on the Technology Initiative. For an article about the forums, click here.
The District's inaugural Google circuit training for EPHS students and Elm Middle students took place in August 2017. For articles about those respective training sessions, click here and here.
Technology Initiative updates as well as resources for community members are available at the IT Department website.