Cutting Edge Technology
Cutting Edge Technology at AESD
AESD has been very fortunate to receive tremendous support for our surrounding community. The voters of Avondale and Goodyear have passed a capital override that allows our school district to keep up with the times.
Our vision is to prepare our students to be thinkers, problem solvers, and communicators on their path to college, career and life. Technology becomes more universal, more commonplace in our daily lives and it is hard to envision a future where technology is not a key aspect of college, career and life.
To that end, we believe that technology will only improve a student's ability to learn; to be engaged in a social community of collaborators and share ideas with those in the same classroom, the same state, even the same planet. Much like adults have an internet-connected device in one of their pockets, the same will be true for our students as they move along their educational pathway to successful adulthood. It is likely they will use devices that we cannot even image today, so how do we prepare students for this unknown world full of technology and collaboration?
Starting in our Kindergarten classrooms, every single student in our district is issued a mobile device, K through 8th grade. They do not share devices with the student next to them or have one device per group. Each student has his or her own device that they can use to engage in their learning.
We have a digital curriculum that students access every day using their devices. Textbooks are being replaced by interactive lessons online. Worksheets are being replaced by online workbooks where students practice skills and develop deeper understanding of their content and curriculum. Students collaborate, they share their ideas with their fellow classmates, and submit assignments digitally; online using new classroom management tools and techniques. It has been a great endeavor to prepare our classrooms and teachers for this shift in instruction and learning.
For example, all of our teachers are assigned laptops and tablets and receive continuous weekly training to help them engage, interact and monitor learning in their 21st Century Classroom. Student work is evaluated every week by grade-level and content area "clusters" to ensure progress is being made and instructional best practices are being followed. Additional school leadership meetings take place twice a month to compare student data across all content areas or all grade levels to ensure gaps are filled, challenges are addressed and to help plan for the future of instruction throughout our district.
On the IT side of things, all of our classrooms are ready for devices! We have a very robust wired and wireless network capable of handling all of these mobile devices simultaneously as well as the bandwidth to support highly engaging lessons that might contain video, animations or other interactive content.
Federal law requires us to filter all student access to the internet to protect students from adult content but we take this a step further. We know that gaming sites and other online content areas can be distracting to learning and even potentially harmful to our students. We restrict access to most non-educational web sites for students but will allow for teachers to have access to other sites, vetted sites that may benefit instruction or further educational goals. All inappropriate web sites are blocked for students and staff alike, ensuring online safety for our students while promoting the best educational outcomes possible.
We use other tools to monitor and manage which applications are installed or are being used by staff and students. We assign applications to the grade levels appropriate for the lessons and content at that grade level or content area of the student. We are able to audit devices for normal use and are able to assist students or staff when we see use that is less than nominal. We patch software and provide updates using automated tools as well as ensuring students have access to the latest, most up to date versions of our curriculums.
We are able to do all of these things for our students because of the tremendous support of our voters that have approved our capital override. AESD thanks you.