SPECIAL TO THE FLASH
STEPHENVILLE (January 10, 2016) — Stephenville Independent School District is proud to announce iChampion, a 3-year, multi-phased initiative centered on enhancing academic learning by way of digital-based innovations and resources.
With a straight-arrow focus to empower learners to achieve excellence through initiative and integrity, SISD’s iChampion 1:1 initiative leverages the power and mobility of technology to create a personalized, student-centric environment.
“We believe iChampion to be the embodiment of our motto: developing the potential of every student, every day,” says Superintendent Matt Underwood. “Our board of trustees set forth six goals to challenge and frame our academic efforts; a commonality among them is to prepare students for future success. There is no denying that our world is steeped in technology. It is critical that we underscore and support the curriculum with the necessary 21st Century skills and tools to thrive.”
Stephenville ISD was named as one of only five districts nationwide to serve as a Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools cohort this past June. Digital Promise coaches facilitated opportunities for SISD leaders to witness and learn first-hand from digital learning experts. SISD’s iChampion initiative is poised to serve as a model for digital learning and classroom innovation. Rooted with tried-and-true pedagogical best practices, iChampion delivers personalized learning and technology skills infused and integrated into the daily teaching and learning process.
As part of this initiative, all teachers and certified staff at each campus were issued state-of-the-art laptop computers for school and home use in the fall of 2015. Teachers were issued MacBook Pros preinstalled software programs and applications to be used throughout the curriculum.
The plan for Phase Two of the Digital Learning Initiative is to provide students with access to mobile digital devices. Based upon the Digital Promise Assessment Review, it was determined to launch the iChampion device initiative at Hook Elementary. As part of the November 2015 school board meeting, the board approved the purchase of 660 iPad Mini 4 devices with Wi-Fi capability and 64GB of data, protective cases, carts, and management software. Digital learning resources and applications will be made available for use through the District’s network for integration within the classroom. A parent information night is planned at Hook Elementary on Thursday, January 14th at 6:00 P.M. and devices will be issued to students on Tuesday, January 19th.
Phase Three – Five:
Similar rollouts are planned for Gilbert (Fall 2016), Henderson (Spring 2017), and Stephenville HS (Fall 2018).
Research indicates that teachers find integration of instructional technology to be beneficial in the classroom, citing improvement to instruction and engagement (Holcomb, 2009). Classrooms are more student-centered (Dunleavy, Dexter & Heinecke, 2010) and lesson plans are more rigorous, yet collaborative (Rutledge et. al., 2007). The focus of the classroom shifts from students as passive learners to students demonstrating understanding and thought through hands-on, authentic applications that challenge and highlight higher-order thinking skills. In short, students are becoming more involved with their learning beyond the interactive nature of the device. They are seeing technology as central to learning independence and achieving mastery by way of personalized learning and demonstration of creativity.