Why is South Madison making the change to a blended learning environment? (digital learning combined with traditional learning)

SMCSC seeks to prepare students for a 21st Century learning environment. To meet these challenges, technology must be embedded into the curriculum. Students must become effective communicators who demonstrate critical and creative thinking and the ability to work successfully in collaborative settings. It is the vision of the district for our students to be lifelong learners, wise consumers, and valuable contributors to society. We envision this in a blended learning environment that incorporates digital learning.

When will this be implemented?
The first set of Chromebooks were rolled out for the 2016-2017 school year, with the goal of full implementation in 2018-19.

What devices will be available to students?
Kindergarten, Grades 1-3: Classroom technology; iPad carts.
Grade 4: Chromebook for each student; device stays in class.
Grades 5-11: Chromebook for each student; device taken home.
Grades 12:  More classroom technology; laptop carts.

What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a laptop that runs the Chrome OS, a cloud-based operating system. The Chromebook utilizes cloud-based storage, web applications, and Google Apps for Education programs. Since Chromebooks operate using the Chrome OS,  they boot in seconds, unlike computers running a Windows OS; this is beneficial for school systems because the decrease in wait time allows teachers and students to work more efficiently.  For more information watch the following video. https://youtu.be/mSbZQNJwPuI

Will devices take the place of traditional textbooks?
We are currently in a period of transition from sole dependency on textbooks to an environment that allows access to a much greater range of educational materials and experiences. Textbooks will remain a component of classroom learning. Some courses will blend print and digital, while others will use print as supplemental resources.

May students bring their own devices instead?
No, the school cannot filter or manage at-home devices during school, so each student must use a school-owned device for class work. Home devices would exert additional strain on the infrastructure. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) ended at the conclusion of the 2015-16 school year.

Will we continue to have existing labs and computers?
Yes, the goal is to provide a range of digital tools to students and teachers so that the teacher may select the most appropriate tools for the learning task.

What if I don't have Internet at home? Will the student be penalized?
No penalties are given for lack of internet access. Students can download their assignments for work off campus and simply upload the completed assignments once they return to school or have Wi-Fi access. The school's internet will be accessible whenever students are on campus. Students will be informed of free Wi-Fi hot spots in public places. For additional information on free Wi-Fi in the Pendleton area, see the following webpage. http://www.freewifinearbyme.com/indiana/pendleton

What is the cost to the parents?
Chromebook rental will be included in student book fees; It is the intent of the district to minimize the impact of the technology initiative so that 2017-18 book fees are comparable to past fees.

What happens if the Chromebook is broken, lost, or stolen?
Chromebooks that are lost or stolen should be reported to the school office or the Chromebook support center. In the event of theft, a police report should be filed. Students will be provided with a replacement device, and an invoice for the lost or stolen device will be sent to the parent or guardian.

What happens if the Chromebook is damaged?
The student is responsible for the damages to the Chromebook. If a student damages another student's Chromebook, the student who inflicted the damage is responsible. Parents/Guardians of the responsible student assume financial responsiblity for repair or replacement of the device. This includes parents/guardians of students on Free/Reduced Lunch.

Is device protection available?
Yes, the Arabian Protection Plan (APP) is available for $45 per year. Parents may opt out. The Arabian Protection Plan does not cover total replacement, contamination, intentional damage, theft, or loss. The Arabian Protection Plan does cover repair due to accidental damage of any part of the Chromebook. Each part will be covered for one incident, any damage to the part after that will be charged. For the repair to be covered by APP the case must always be on and the damaged part must be turned in with the device. Parents/guardians will be invoiced for damages that exceed coverage limits.

What are the responsibilities of the parent/guardian?
Parents and guardians are important partners with the school in ensuring that students use all technology responsibly. Parents should talk with their children about values and standards that should be followed on the Internet. Adults also should stress that material put on the internet or network is almost always viewable by the public, even if privacy settings are activated. Students should conduct themselves as if colleges, future employers, and friends and relatives are viewing their postings.

Will students keep the device all year and during the summer?
Students will keep their devices all school year, including breaks, and turn them in prior to the summer break.

What are the student expectations?
The purpose of this device is to facilitate in-class instruction, out-of-class activities, and online testing. Therefore, students will be expected to bring their device fully charged to class every day and to complete certain assignments with the device. The student is responsible for the device at all times.

Will students be trained on use of the device?
Yes. Student training includes orientation, a basic users guide, and online tutorials in addition to classroom help from the teacher.

Will students have email access on the device?
Yes. All students have been issued a Gmail account. It is limited to in-district student-to-student and student-to-staff member communication, and it is required for accessing Google educational resources.

How do students connect to the Internet?
Students connect to the Internet using Wi-Fi from any open Wi-Fi access point. The classroom teacher will provide instructions for connecting to the wireless Internet within the school. Students will also be able to access the Internet through public hotspots.Students will be informed of free Wi-Fi hot spots in public places. For additional information on free Wi-Fi in the Pendleton area, see the following webpage. http://freewifinearbyme.com/indiana/pendleton

Are there options besides public hot spots for those of us who do not have home internet access?
Yes, the Pendleton Community Library provides an option. The library now has a limited number of Wi-Fi hotspots that library members may check out for free. The hotspot will connect to the Sprint network and will work wherever there is a cell phone signal. The hotspot may be checked out for a limited time (just like a library book), and when it is overdue, it will stop working. Pendleton Community Library cards are free to persons living in Fall Creek, Green or Adams Townships. It is necessary for library staff to verify a patron’s current address before issuing a library card. Contact the Pendleton Community Library for details.

Will the device be filtered at home?
Yes, the Chromebook will remain on the SMCSC network and all federal requirements (CIPA) will be upheld at all times.

How much of the student's personal information is going to be out there in the "cloud"?
Students have less of their information in Google than other sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. ONLY the student's first name, middle initial, last name, username, and password (which is encrypted) is synced from our network to Google. The phone number, address, birth date, etc. are NOT synced to Google.
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