NEW TECHNOLOGY: HUGE BENEFIT TO STUDENTS
Local Technology Levies provide many tools to prepare Lakewood’s students for K-12 academic achievement and for success on the path they choose after high school graduation.
Continued support from the community through renewing of local dollars for technology has had a profound impact on student academic success. Before technology levies, classroom technology was limited. Overhead projectors with rolls of plastic sheeting and felt pens were classroom standards. Students demonstrated their learning on the pages of expensive paperback workbooks to supplement with their printed, dense textbooks. Each year, these pieces had to be replaced for the next set of learners. This made learning cumbersome for students to haul around and for teachers to collect and grade.
Local voters approved the current Technology Levy in August of 2020. It expires at the end of December 2022. Local voters would need to renew their support to continue the local student benefit of Technology Levy dollars.
The current 2-year levy has provided teachers with personal technology devices and E-tools to better support students. Presentation stations are now a staple in each classroom. This technology allows greater access to a wider range of resources to meet each student’s needs. During parent-teacher conferences, staff may use the stations to demonstrate to families what their children have been learning and show visual examples of the child’s work. Staff are also able to review student data together on these devices and quickly identify next steps and create plans based on real-time learning. With the move to more digital technologies and interaction, learning and instruction are more collaborative than ever, and it is efficient.
This spring’s opening of Lakewood Middle School’s STEM Lab invigorated students’ learning in science, technology, engineering and math. Math and science instruction rely heavily on hands-on, digital experiences. Adoption of new software such as CADD (Computer-Aided Design and Drafting) has also offered invaluable tools for students interested in engineering and 3D printing. The lab’s specialized equipment focuses on the use of technology in business and industry. This adds to the preparation of Lakewood students for the path they choose after graduation. While the 2014 bond paid for the Lab’s construction and initial installation of this new equipment, any updates or improvements will depend other funding sources such as the Technology Levy.
“We need to continue to expand on our technologies to help students receive real world experience, which in turn, will set them up for success,” said Lakewood Middle School math teacher Ron Detrick. Detrick, a 14-year teaching veteran, added “it is such a joy to see the look of accomplishment on students’ faces as they complete projects on the Lab’s laser printers or CNC machines.”
Classrooms also have more student-focused devices and interconnectivity with the installation of wireless access points. All these resources provide more equitable access to high-speed internet. The laptops provided to students connect to an online version of their textbooks using a program called Clever. This program allows teachers and students to run through learning exercises and do work together in a more visual and stimulating way. As a result, teachers report greater student engagement and academic success. Technology allows greater classroom instruction in the time allowed.
In addition, access to levy-provided technology allowed Lakewood School District to nimbly respond during the pandemic. New ways of learning were adopted for safety. Nearly 2,000 Chromebooks were distributed for student use during distance learning. Levy funds also supported hotspots for families without internet access.
“At Lakewood School District, we strive to make sure we provide all the necessary equipment to support the continued learning of our students. We are so grateful that Technology Levy has allowed us to continue to expand advanced tools and technology so vital in this digital age,” said Baldeep Singh, Information Systems Administrator for the district.
Staying up to date with new and emerging technologies and tools is a critical piece of Lakewood School District’s plans to improve student learning. These tools keep families, their children and our staff connected to ensure learning success of each and every one of Lakewood’s students. We are better together.