BCS Advantage Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 8

BCS Continues to Lead the Way with Cutting-Edge, Digital Learning By: Barry Pace, Director of Technology The Buncombe County Schools (BCS) 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative, which launched for every BCS student in grades 4-6 this past January, expands to all students in grades 7-9 this September! This exciting technology advancement has literally become the “go-to” learning tool for the initial 5,500 participating students. Not surprisingly, teachers across the school system report student enthusiasm and participation definitely skyrocketed since the Lenovo Yoga 11e Windows Touchscreen convertible laptops were distributed. Teachers also reported many new and unique learning opportunities offered through digital learning. “In the past, if a teacher wanted to implement an activity that involved every child having a device, you had to rely on students bringing their own devices or checking them out from the media center,” said Enka Middle School 6th grade teacher Andrea McCulloch. “Now, you have a readily available tool to use for research, electronic notebooks, interactive classroom activities, and projects to extend learning. It completely changes the whole classroom and learning experience for everyone in the most engaging ways.” This September the program expands to grades 7-9, which means almost 6,000 more students will access learning in a whole new way, with the latest technology in-hand, as they embark upon their own 1:1 Digital Learning journey. Next year, all BCS students in grades 10-12 will receive digital devices. “This unique benefit and experience BCS is offering students allows them to work on multi-functional devices to complete assignments in various ways, which provides them more freedom in their learning,” said Sarah Knowles, a 4th grade teacher at Emma Elementary. “They also get access to devices that might not otherwise be available to them because of the cost.” BCS classrooms are benefiting from expanded digital access, too. With ongoing support, teachers continue to discover new and inventive ways to make learning more engaging and create individualized student experiences, which allows the personalization to expand beyond the classroom toward new pathways and course options. 6 “I can only imagine how technology will develop and become an integral part of our lives in the future,” says Ms. Knowles. “The great thing is we get to teach students how to be good citizens and productive learners and contributors in the ever- changing digital world.”