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Reflections on our 1:1 Initiative

Lincoln Lutheran Middle and High School implemented a school-wide 1:1 Bring-Your-Own-Device initiative in the 2014-2015 school year. Now, more than halfway through its second year, Principal Matt Heibel has been impressed with how well the transition has gone and with the willingness of classroom teachers to integrate a variety of instructional technology into lessons. “We did everything we could to be prepared. What has helped make the change so successful is the leadership of our teachers and the willingness of our students to embrace the change.”

Lincoln Lutheran senior Kate Staab has grown to appreciate technology innovation in her classes. “The ability to quickly annotate a document and have all of our resources in one place has helped us as students. We can record documents from our teachers and the software we use creates an easy process for turning in assignments and retrieving them later if needed. Our teachers (and students) can easily project examples on the screen during the learning process. All of these changes have helped us learn more efficiently.”

Improvements

Instructional technology resources have changed drastically during Staab’s seven years at Lincoln Lutheran. During that time the school has:

1. Installed LCD projectors in every classroom .

2. Adopted a learning management system to give students anytime/anywhere access to course material.

3. Installed more than a mile of new ethernet cable, making wireless access available school-wide.

4. Installed fiber optic cable to increase Internet speeds ten-fold.

5. Adopted software so students can receive, complete and turn in homework online as well as view grades and receive teacher feedback online.

6. Provided each teacher with an iPad, allowing them to teach multimedia lessons from anywhere in the room.

7. Installed an Apple TV in every instructional space which teachers and students can use for class presentations.

8. Adopted a 1:1 Bring-Your-Own-Device initiative so every student has a device to facilitate and enhance learning.

Lloyd Sommerer, the school’s technology coordinator, appreciates the array of resources available in Nebraska to help schools and teachers as they implement and increase the use of instructional technology. “Technology coordinators throughout Nebraska are always willing to help each other. Learning from other early adopters has allowed Lincoln Lutheran to stay ahead of other Lincoln schools when it comes to instructional technology. We were also able to avoid some common mistakes as we rolled out our 1:1 initiative because of the experience of other early adopters.”

During an AdvancED accreditation visit last spring, the visitation team, comprised of experienced educators from several states, was impressed by the use of instructional technology in the classroom. The team noted that Lincoln Lutheran scored higher in the area of digital learning than any school they had visited. Based on the accreditation process, Lincoln Lutheran has adopted a school improvement goal that focuses on next-level use of instructional technology, called the SAMR Model. Teachers are focusing on moving from “Substituting” technology for traditional methods of instruction, to “Augmenting,” “Modifying,” and “Redefining” instruction using educational technology.

Investing in the continued professional development of teachers will be key to identifying ways to further strengthen the students’ learning experience. Over the past several years, teachers have attended state, national and international technology conferences. The annual Nebraska Educational Technology Association (NETA) conference has been an invaluable source of ideas for technology integration in classroom instruction.

Prepared for future

Senior Kate Staab is looking forward to college with confidence because she knows her experience at Lincoln Lutheran has exposed her to some of the best educational innovation found in schools today.

“My teachers have been willing to try new things and challenge us as students. When I talk to peers at other schools they are amazed by the fact that we turn everything in and receive everything back electronically. I am so thankful for all those who’ve supported Lincoln Lutheran so we could make the most out of our educational experience.”

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