New Digital Competence Initiative
includes one-to-one program
On April 29 Bethany’s board of directors approved the administration’s proposal for a major new initiative in technology innovation to equip students for college and citizenship in the 21st century. When students return for classes in August, each student in grades 4 through 12 will receive a personal digital device—students in grades 4 and 5 will receive an iPad while students in grades 6 through 12 will receive a Macbook Air.
Recognizing the importance of digital competence for today’s students, Bethany is committed to fund the one-to-one program without any increase in the cost of tuition. Funding from anonymous sources is covering the cost of the new initiative.
In order to succeed in the 21st century, students must develop skills in using emerging digital technologies, accessing information, communicating, and understanding ethical and legal implications of online behavior. By providing each student with a personal digital device, Bethany demonstrates its commitment to enable students to develop such competence.
During the past two years Bethany’s faculty has been preparing for this new initiative. Bethany provided all classroom teachers with Macbook Pro laptops; a faculty team visited one-to-one programs across the state; and classroom teachers experimented with exciting new ways of utilizing technology to engage students in learning. Additionally, Bethany conducted a pilot program this year in English 9 and 10, where students have daily been using laptops on a one-to-one basis. Teacher Eileen Becker-Hoover and her students have found effective ways of using technology to conduct research, engage in online conversations, and work collaboratively at projects.
Teachers have experimented with new instructional approaches—such as the “flipped classroom” in which traditional lecture content becomes homework and students use class time to practice learning, collaborate with peers, ask questions, and demonstrate understanding. Digital technology also opens doors to real-world applications as students research issues such as care for the environment and have opportunity to communicate with others across the globe.
Students are excited about the new opportunities the one-to-one digital device program will afford. When principal Allan Dueck announced the board’s decision in an all-school assembly, students enthusiastically cheered the news.