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CUSD going One to World with instructional technology
Chris Higle - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Using technology is not a new experience for school age children in Ceres. They are digital natives who are comfortable using smart phones, social media, and web-based programs and applications. They do not think twice about using technology, and in fact, are growing up in a world that is becoming more and more dependent on technology to access information and to connect with real-world resources.

In 2015-16, Ceres Unified will go One to World (1:World) by issuing every student, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, a device that will provide students access to learning resources from around the world. The term One to World or 1:World was created to encompass this journey and can be defined as a device in every student's hands that opens up the world to them.

As part of learning in 21st century classrooms, we are charged with teaching children academic content as well as how to use that learning in the real world. Providing a device for every student creates opportunity, allowing him or her to connect in ways that were not possible before. Our students must be ready to compete on a global scale, and the first step is providing them access to the tools they will use as productive members of our society.

So does this mean instruction is changing and we will no longer have students write with pencil and pen? No. Does it mean they will stop engaging with other students and use the device all of the time? No.

Be assured Ceres educators will not waver in our focus on providing engaging, high quality academic instruction. Within purposefully designed and delivered lessons, CUSD teachers will infuse technology to prepare students for the work in which they will engage in college, careers, and in life. Students will use the devices to enrich and extend learning. They will use technology to communicate, collaborate, think critically, and to create in ways that apply their learning of academic content standards in real-world situations.

At school, students will use technology to conduct research, to write, and to collaborate on projects. They will also use the devices to access applications, web resources, and instructional materials. For example, while students will still have textbooks in most subject areas, beginning in 2015-16, all math instructional materials will be digital - students will no longer use a printed math textbook.

At home, students will use their devices to access instructional materials, to complete homework assignments, and to continue their classroom activities. If students do not have wireless Internet at home, they will still be able to use the devices for these activities. Their materials will be available offline. They can complete work at home, it will be saved on the device and will then be uploaded to their school accounts when they reconnect to wireless in the classroom.

As we prepare to take our students into a One to World learning environment, we are also providing safeguards to ensure the focus remains on learning and safety for students. Devices will be equipped with a web-filtering system at school and at home and we will follow the laws and guidelines for protecting student information. Processes will be in place to ensure student privacy is protected. Students will receive Digital Citizenship training to ensure they learn how to be safe and productive members of a 1:World learning environment.

The mobile device hardware will be a HP Pro Slate 10 tablet for K-1 and HP Chromebook 11 for 2nd through 12th grade students. In addition, device carry cases and ear buds will also be provided to students.

The devices are instructional materials. In many ways they are just like textbooks. While they cost less than multiple textbooks, we do understand families may be concerned about costs associated with damage or loss. To help with this, Ceres Unified will provide a low cost insurance option for those families who would like to participate. The insurance plan will cost $10 per student/device annually (capped at $40 per family). It will cover accidental damage and theft when a police report is filed. When the devices are reported lost or stolen, they will be deactivated and become unusable. It's like a "kill switch" similar to that used in many cell phones.

Preparations for this monumental endeavor started last school year. This included updating the school network infrastructures, installing additional network cabling, and adding wireless access. Without a solid network infrastructure, putting devices in student's hands would not be viable. This was made possible through a federally funded program called E-rate, awarded to CUSD after completing a highly rigorous application process. The E-rate program covered approximately 90 percent of the costs of these projects.

An extensive professional learning plan has also been developed and implemented this year to provide staff the necessary skills to effectively use the technology in the classroom with students. In addition, the district has added multiple new technology support positions that will provide technical support for the devices and classroom technology integration support for teachers.

CUSD staff are committed to working in partnership with families to ensure students are successful in using technology effectively to learn and to prepare for college, career, and engaging in the global community. Families are encouraged to participate in workshops being held at each school this spring and throughout the next school year. In addition, information is available on the Ceres Unified 1:World website: