In the 2012-2013 school year, all seniors and their teachers received a MacBook Air for their use (at home and school) to pilot for the first phase our Strategic Technology Plan. The program provided valuable insight that helped craft the final form of the school’s initiative. It also provided critical information as to the school’s readiness for a 1:1 program with regard to its infrastructure, as well as the instructional expertise of the faculty in their use of technology.
Using the results of the surveys, the findings from the pilot program, and extensive research from other MAIS schools and technology consultants, the Board of Trustees approved the final plan at their January 2013 meeting. The plan will be phased in over the next few years, which included the expansion of MacBooks to 10th-12th grades for the 2013-2014 school year. This expansion will include the 9th grade having MacBooks for the 2014-2015 school year. As part of the strategic planning for the 1:1 program, MHS will pilot the use of iPads in the 7th and 8th grades during the second semester of the 2013-2014 school year. The full plan is available at the school or can be downloaded from the school’s website www.magnoliaheights.com.
We are excited to partner with Apple in our endeavor. Apple believes in creating products that enrich learner’s lives and help K-12 education achieve its goals for teacher effectiveness, college and career readiness and student achievement. These goals include national efforts such as the Common Core State Standards. These standards have been adopted by 47 states including Mississippi for English Language Arts and Mathematics. These standards emphasize that technological skills and information literacy in the digital age should not be taught separately, but rather be deeply integrated into the educational experience across all subject areas. While Magnolia Heights is not bound by Common Core, and does not align our curriculum with those standards, we agree that the best technology should seamlessly connect the learner with what they are expected to learn. When a student is engaged in learning or creating, technological fluency happens as a by-product.
We know that to transform learning, we must develop a culture of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. Today’s learners need to work collaboratively and communicate in meaningful ways to reach a shared goal. They need to develop critical thinking skills that apply their understanding of content and empower them to solve today’s challenges. A big part of developing global learners is to provide an environment with access to a range of devices and content that complement creative learning.
This is an exciting time for MHS and provides further evidence that Magnolia Heights is striving to provide your child with the best college preparatory education available. Although no computer will ever replace teachers and parents as the primary instructional leaders, our students need access to technology to keep pace in an ever-changing global landscape. This strategic initiative will provide the blueprint to do just that.