Dear Lancaster Parents, Family, and Friends...
Schools look and feel very different in 2014 than they did just a decade ago. Technology opens the door for 24/7 learning. As educators, our task is to facilitate learning for our students, and our schools must offer options to learn using emerging technologies, as well as teach students to be responsible in their use. The Lancaster Central School District is fortunate to be a leader in these endeavors and we are grateful for our community's support.
During the past year we have undergone many sensational changes and upgrades in our technology infrastructure to give students and staff access to information anywhere, any time, and on any device.As a result of the 2012 capital project approved by the community, students and staff have begun to see increased technology options including Chromebooks, iPads, Google applications and, in January 2015, access for high school students to bring their own devices to school and wirelessly link with the district's network.
The availability of WiFi throughout the district is a significant accomplishment of the capital project. All staff will have WiFi access along with high school students. Cell phone use has been permitted in the high school for more
than four years, and WiFi now provides additional options for students to use their own laptops, iPads, and other personal devices for instruction, to support research, and self-directed learning.
To prepare for this sea of change, our technology mentors have traveled throughout the district introducing faculty to a myriad of technology applications. Many teachers have embraced technology in their classrooms.Google Classroom, for example, gives a teacher the ability to assign coursework, videos, and Google documents to students. The documents can be assigned by teachers and completed by students anytime, anywhere.
Students from kindergarten through grade 12 use Chromebooks daily, and there is an ever-increasing demand. More than 600 Chromebooks have been provided for classroom use, and the district utilizes Google Apps for Education to support instruction on the devices.
Classroom instruction is being 'flipped,' with teachers creating videos for students to view as homework. In this way, students are introduced to concepts before they are addressed in class, freeing instructional time for reinforcement and enhancement of the material. In the past, students completed homework assignments and turned in paper copies of their work. Many teachers now advise students to post assignments in Google Drive, where teachers can view and edit student work, returning assignments quickly and paperlessly.
While this is just a brief overview of how technology is transforming the classroom, we invite you to learn more in the upcoming edition of Your Lancaster Schools. Also, visit the district website to see how the schools are using technology, social media, podcasts and more to keep parents, students, and community members well informed.
Michael J. Vallely, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools