Laptops Roll-Out at EPHS
August 22, 2013 -- In addition to their pencils and notebooks, Eden Prairie students will carry technology in their backpacks this fall as half of the district’s students receive digital devices during the first days of school. The district is continuing its digital conversion, an initiative called i-Learn@EP, with the deployment of devices to more than 4,300 students in grades 7 through 12. Students in fourth through sixth grades will also have greater access to technology with iPads on carts in every classroom.
The district digital initiative is geared toward personalized learning and transforming classrooms through embedding what are known as 21st century skills. Students not only need to learn foundational knowledge and skills but must also be able to communicate, collaborate, be creative, and think critically. These are commonly referred to as the 4C’s and are the 21st century skills that are enhanced by use of technology. The devices open up doors and possibilities that extend learning opportunities and bring these key skills to life in the classroom, according to Josh Swanson, Executive Director of Technology.
During the first week of school, Eden Prairie High School students will each be issued an 11-inch MacBook Air laptop the first week of school. Prior to receiving the laptop a digital i-Learn@EP agreement is signed by each family. As part of the distribution process, each student will participate in a one hour session to discuss digital citizenship, personalize their device, learn about being a student in a 1:1 school, and about becoming a 21st century learner. Several sessions and opportunities are being provided to parents and families to learn more about i-Learn@EP.
At Central Middle School, students have a similar discussion, learning about digital footprints, online safety, digital life, and ownership and use of digital content before being issued iPads early in their second week of school. This is the middle school’s second year of the i-Learn initiative. After a very successful launch last year the staff has taken what was learned and believes this year will lead to even more amazing things for their students. Middle school students will also sign off on a digital agreement form with their parents or guardians.
Approximately 600 grade K-12 teachers have been participating in training and professional development in the two weeks leading up to the start of school. It is designed to show them how to effectively leverage the digital devices as a tool to enhance and support learning. Their training has been designed and facilitated by teachers, along with the learning and teaching, and technology and learning departments. Launching a digital conversion has required true collaboration and team effort. This highly collaborative process is part of what made the rollout so successful last year, according to Joe Epping, principal at Central Middle School.
District Hires Six i-Learn Specialists to Assist with Technology Integration
May 7, 2013 -- After an extensive search and interview process, six individuals have been hired as i-Learn Specialists. These are new positions that were created as part of the restructuring of the district’s technology team, which resulted in a savings of about $300,000 in the technology staffing budget.
“We had a tremendous pool of candidates for these positions and had the opportunity to interview many skilled people,” said Josh Swanson, executive director of technology. “We are excited about this team of i-Learn specialists and look forward to having them as part of our technology team.”
The following individuals have been offered and have accepted positions:
- Laurie Callies, teacher, Hopkins West Junior High School
- Kim Christiansen, instructional coach, Oak Point Elementary
- Natasha Monsaas-Daly, teacher, Eden Prairie High School
- Erin Schiller, technology specialist, Heritage E-STEM Middle School, West. St. Paul
- Lindsay Welch, teacher, Central Middle School
- Lynnea West, teacher, Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion
The i-Learn specialists will assist teachers in incorporating technology into the instructional process and assist in the implementation of the district’s i-Learn@EP initiative. The positions will begin this summer.
District Hires Director of Technology and Learning
April 19, 2013 -- After an extensive search and interview process, Michelle Ament has been hired as the district’s director of technology and learning. This is a new position that was created as part of the restructuring of the district’s technology team, which resulted in a savings of about $300,000 in the technology staffing budget.
Ament is currently the STEM (science, technology, engineering and science) integration coordinator at the Cedar Park STEM School in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District. She has also been a classroom teacher and Young Scholar/enrichment specialist at Diamond Path School of International Studies in the Rosemount district. She has also worked as an elementary science teacher in the South St. Paul School District.
“Having Michelle in this position will help our district to continue to integrate technology devices into classroom instruction,” said Josh Swanson, the district’s executive director of technology. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in advancing technology initiatives and assisting teachers with incorporating technology devices into their teaching and learning. We are very excited to have Michelle as part of our team.”
Ament has a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from Gustavus Adolphus College; a master’s degree in education, teaching and learning, from St. Mary’s University; and a specialist degree in educational leadership from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
She will be recommended for hire at the school board meeting on April 23. She is slated to start in the district on June 10.