11 schools win Knox County school technology challenge
Students at Bonny Kate were very excited to hear that their school had been chosen.
"It would open up the world to our students. It would allow us to be with them at home, and it allows them to connect with children all over the world. There would be no walls to hold them in," teacher Amanda Morse said.
KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Eleven Knox County schools have been picked for a program that will put high-tech devices in the hands of each teacher and each student.
It's designed to show off what technology can do to further education - and maybe a preview of things to come for the rest of the school system. The program is a trial run for implementing 1 to 1 technology in the classroom.
Knox County Schools superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre announced the 11 schools that won the school technology challenge to a crowd at Bonny Kate Elementary School Friday afternoon.
The Winning Schools
High School: Bearden and South-Doyle High School
Middle School: Holston, West Valley, Vine Middle School
Elementary: Corryton, Halls, Mooreland Heights, Norwood, Sterchi, Bonny Kate Elementary
Interested schools went through an application process, and a total of 28 schools applied for consideration in this pilot initiative.
Students at Bonny Kate were ecstatic upon hearing their school was one of 11 selected to take part in school technology pilot program.
Amanda Morse, a fourth grade teacher at Bonny Kate Elementary, says it would transform the way she connects with her students.
"It would open up the world to our students. It would allow us to be with them at home, and it allows them to connect with children all over the world. There would be no walls to hold them in," Morse said.
Morse helped to develop Bonnie Kate's entry submission for the program, which aims to shifts how teachers will present instruction and the excitement that will further spark student ownership in their learning.
The technology program gives students from the fourth grade all the way to high school access to their own learning device, which could be an iPad, laptop or tablet.
Kindergarten through third grade students would be exposed to "blended technology" and would share devices.
The school system wants to show how this technology will help education.
"It's about what our teachers, what our kids can do with the technology, and how we can truly differentiate our instruction, how we can truly personalize learning for every single of our students," McIntyre said.
The School Technology Challenge would be funded largely through a recommended fund balance designation, estimated at approximately $3 million, which would support hardware, software and infrastructure.
The resources would be supplemented by the $300,000 for training and support that has been proposed in the general fund budget recommendation for 2013-14.
McIntyre says it's a smaller approach than last year's request for $35 million extra, which focused heavily on technology for the entire school system.
"I think that was a lot to bite off for our community, and I think the idea is start small, and do it a handful of schools, and to demonstrate success," McIntyre said.
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett fought against last year's school budget request, but says this year he's more open to the plan.
"We just want to make sure we are spending wisely, and Dr. McIntyre is taking the proper approach, just dip our toe and see where it's going," Burchett said.
The school board would have to approve the funding, which county commission would then appropriate.
Once that happens, the technology would be available in time for next school year and could serve between 6,000 and 7,000 students.