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Mobile device expansion coming to district

At least one mobile device per student.

That's one of the goals of a new technology initiative by New Canaan Public Schools, which increases mobile device use in all levels, starting in the elementary schools, Director of Digital Learning Robert Miller told the Board of Education Monday.

Miller expects the "X:1" program to kick off in fall 2015.

"X:1 means that we anticipate providing, or having students provide, at least one device," he said. "That means that every student has access to a device throughout the day and at home, as well."

Miller said the initiative would allow for more personalized learning choices and online learning opportunities. Teachers also would be able to explore innovative instructional practices, he said.

"For example, students can be collaborating in real time on multiple devices using Google Docs with the teacher and other students," Miller said, adding that it would be easier to ask questions and get feedback "simultaneously from different locations."

With the new plan, he said, every student would be able to choose how to present "their level of understanding."

"It can be a presentation, a movie, a podcast, a website, a game," Miller said.

The X:1 Committee has visited several districts in Connecticut to observe examples of how schools engage students with technology. Miller said the committee also has studied what technical support, staffing and network infrastructure would be necessary to implement such changes in New Canaan.

With the wireless upgrade underway at the high school and Saxe Middle School, he said the district soon would be prepared for the initiative. Interim Superintendent of Schools Bryan Luizzi said the district "needed to have a robust infrastructure prior to" launching the initiative.

The next step for the committee is to decide what kind of device would be used, although most districts it has visited have adopted iPads as their standard.

Jill Correnty, assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment, who also is on the committee, said New Canaan differs from other districts because most have focused their efforts on the high school students.

"When we did our site visits, we noticed a lot of energy going into a specific age group," she said. "And I have to say, in this district we're further advanced in what we have in the elementary and middle schools."

Board member Dionna Carlson said the board was "excited about the customization of education" that is about to take place in the district. Read Full Article 

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson

Nelson Oliveira

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