A school district is finding that technology helps to innovate education.
In Spartanburg’s District 7, sounds of paper, pencils and texts have been replaced by the clicking of keyboards thanks to the district’s technology initiative, 7 Ignites.
The district was named one of 11 new members to the League of Innovative Schools by Digital Promise. Authorized by Congress, Digital Promise is a nonoprofit organization which was formed to encourage and accelerate innovative education on a national basis.
The only district from South Carolina, District 7 was chosen based on leadership, evidence of results, commitment to collaboration, and innovative vision.
Adam Babcock, the district’s technology integration specialist, was named the 2014 PBS Digital Innovator by South Carolina Educational TV in May. He has spent the year using PBS resources to collaborate with teachers and curating materials for best use of technology in the classroom.
“A lot of it is trying to figure out how we get from point A to point B with the devices,” he said.
District 7 elementary students have iPad tablets available in classrooms while middle and high school students use MacBook Air laptops to complete assignments in, and out of class thanks to EdModo, a tool used by some Spartanburg districts to let teachers post online assignments and communicate with students after school hours.
Babcock said the first year of the district’s technology integration should have been the hardest, because that’s when teachers and students had to learn the functionality of the devices. Once that is learned, it becomes easier to use them for creative and education purposes.
“This year, the goal is to get more student-centered in our technology use now that we have the functionality,” he said.
Students in Tony Thompson’s economics class sat at desks with MacBook laptops, tuned in and engaged in a lesson projected onto the classroom’s smart board.