Apple trip offers Purdy tech ideas

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Administrators explore strategies before buying computers

Purdy school officials spoke positively about their recent trip to Apple Computer headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., and the possibilities suggested for Purdy in the future. Administrators, two school board members and several faculty went on the invitation-only trip in January.

"The essence is to think about what teaching and learning is going to be like in Purdy," said Superintendent Dr. Steven Chancellor. "To better meet the expectations of our students, we need to explore this."

School board president Randy Henderson recalled two speakers describing what a successful school looks like after introducing computers for every student, what succeeded and what did not.

"They gave us information so our expectations will live up to what we see in the early stages," Chancellor said. "We wouldn't just be buying into this. They will provide the devices and come to provide direction. I've long said the device we buy will be the last decision we make."

For the past 18 months, Purdy faculty have focused on teaching with technology with only a limited number of devices. Chancellor said the focus "put us in a position to succeed more than [getting the computers first]. It's wise being intentional in this. We came away with a collective vision of what kids can do."

"It opened my eyes," said board vice chairman Ronnie Veith, "as to how much teachers need to be on board, maybe more than the kids."

According to Mindy Gates, director of curriculum and instruction, Purdy teachers on the trip had positive conversations with Apple staff on using technology in their content areas. Questions were raised about identifying key elements to having an integrated program.

Chancellor called the trip an information gathering mission. He said administrators would continue revising their ideas until they formed a plan to present to the board.

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