EHS conceptualizes technology in the new school
Big changes and ambitious plans are coming to Englewood High School. One of the biggest changes will be the growth of technology in the new building.
“We’re not sure of the details yet, but we picture every kid having some sort of device—say a laptop, a netbook, or a tablet. With more textbooks going online, this really facilitates ubiquitous access for students to have digital technologies,” District Technology Director, Mike Porter said.
For students, the new technology will be a “launch into 21st century learning. In most knowledge-worker jobs today, an employee is issued a laptop and digital technologies on day one in order to be productive. I think Englewood students should be treated this way. However, employees are also expected to be responsible with their technology—students will be expected to take care of their equipment and be thoughtful with how they use the tools,” Porter said.
During times of economic hardship, worries start at the financial end of the scale. “Part of the bond money (not the mill levy) is intentionally allocated to furniture, fixtures, equipment, technology, and curriculum for the new campus. Any new technology for the building, or for students, will be paid for from the bond fund. The mill levy funds go directly into the general fund and help maintain the general operations of the district (people and programs, etc.),” Superintendent Brian Ewert explained.
However, students will be held responsible for any technology in their possession. “Englewood has a strong tradition of avoiding fees for families and students, for example in athletics. I strongly oppose students being charged to learn. That’s not to say, however, that a student who mistreats equipment won’t be held accountable. Think about a library model. It’s free to check out and use, but if you lose or damage the book, then you are responsible,” Porter said.
Students and staff have already seen some of the technology changes this year. “This school year, we put in 160 some netbooks into the grade 9 teachers’ rooms. Next year, we will have carts of netbooks in all grade 10 core content rooms, which will almost cover all the language arts, social studies, math, and science rooms. Also this year, we put in a new WiFi system that has wall-to-wall coverage. One feature that students are already taking advantage of is the open, public signal. For students who have laptops/smartphones, they can jump on Englewood’s open signal and work online,” Porter said.
In addition to these changes, STEM is another big program that will have a bright future in Englewood Schools. “The new building will have four STEM labs (two middle school, two high school) and a cutting edge fabrications lab. In some ways, the success of those programs this year shaped the vision of the new 7-12 campus. That’s a tribute to the kids and teachers of those programs,” Porter said.
During all times of change, there are cons to every project. “The learning curve for students and staff is always a challenge. Also, keeping all the equipment debugged and running can also be a challenge,” Ewert said.
Technology has a large part in the future of Englewood Schools. Updating the school’s technology base will help turn Englewood High School into a 21st century learning environment.