April 4th, 2014
Thank you again to everyone who attended one of the recent iLearn 97 information nights. We appreciated your participation in these sessions, and are grateful for the thoughtful feedback you provided that will contribute to the success of this initiative and its impact on student learning.
We want to remind all of you that today is the first day our fifth grade students will bring their devices home. In an effort to better ensure the safety of the students, we will be sending out a reminder about this to the Oak Park Police Department, as well as to the leaders from the community organizations (Park District, Hephzibah, Public Library, YMCA, etc.) that offer after-school programming for our students.
We also wanted to respond to the questions we received from parents/guardians via the index cards that were handed out during some of the information nights. The questions and corresponding answers are featured below. They will also be added to the FAQ page on the iLearn 97 website (http://www.op97.org/ilearn). This is a page we will update as needed throughout the life of the initiative and share with the community.
In addition to the FAQ page, we have created a feedback form parents/guardians can use at any time to ask questions or make us aware of problems or issues. You can access this feedback form by clicking here.
February 24, 2014
iLearn 97 Parent/Guardian Informational Nights
Schedule of Events
Below are the dates for each of the required information nights, which will all take place from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Any parents/guardians who are unable to attend the information night at their child’s school can attend a session at one of the other buildings. The content offered at each event will be the same.
- Tuesday, February 25 - Mann
- Thursday, February 27 - Lincoln and Holmes
- Tuesday, March 4 - Hatch
- Wednesday, March 5 - Beye and Irving
- Thursday, March 6 - Longfellow
- Monday, March 10 - Whittier
Outline of Activities
Each information night will feature the following activities:
- An overview of iLearn 97.
- A question and answer session.
- Student demonstrations.
- Payment of the prorated technology fee for the 2013-14 school year that was passed by the Board of Education on February 11, 2014.
The prorated iLearn 97 fee for the 2013-14 school year will be $15. The fee for families who qualify for the reduced lunch program will be $4. This fee will be collected during the information nights. However, parents/guardians may pay it in advance by clicking here.
We have created a comprehensive handbook about the iLearn 97 initiative that features information about a variety of topics, including acceptable use of the devices, usage guidelines, and care and maintenance of the equipment. You can access the handbook online by clicking here.
February 14, 2014
We are excited to announce that we are ready to roll out the second phase of iLearn 97. During this phase, each of our fourth grade students will receive an iPad Mini the week after we return from spring break and participate in a boot camp session that will cover topics such as ethical and acceptable use, Internet safety and best practices. As for the first phase of the initiative, our fifth grade students have completed the boot camp and been using the devices in class the past few weeks. We are now at the point where we are ready to further their learning experience by letting them bring the iPad Minis home. However, before this takes place, we will be hosting required parent information nights at each of our elementary schools. The dates and times for these nights were emailed to our fifth grade families on Wednesday, February 12.
Please email [email protected] if you have questions or need more information about iLearn 97.
February 10th, 2014
School districts from across the nation have been able to help their students foster 21st century learning skills such as collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking through the implementation of 1:1 technology initiatives. That is why we are excited to announce that we are ready to officially launch our own 1:1 initiative—iLearn 97.
Goals for iLearn 97
We have several specific educational goals for the iLearn 97 initiative. These goals include:
- Acquisition of valuable technology skills
- Improved motivation, self-esteem and attitudes toward learning
- Enhanced interaction between teachers and students
- Increased depth of research
- Improved writing and design skills
- Effective collaboration among students
- Closer home-to-school connections
- Accomplishment of more complex tasks
- Adaptability of the learning process to better meet each child's needs, skills, background and interests
Implementation of iLearn 97
The first phase of iLearn 97 will feature the assignment of an iPad Mini to each of our fifth grade students, who will use the devices to enhance their daily learning opportunities and experiences. This phase will begin today with the delivery of the iPad Minis to each of our elementary schools.
On Tuesday, January 21, we will start a two-week “boot camp” training session for our students, during which they will learn how to use the devices and complete technology-enhanced lessons and assignments. These lessons and assignments will highlight the following:
Acceptable Use Policy: Review the district’s acceptable use of technology policy and talk about why we have one. Access the policy by clicking here.
iPad Care and Handling: Learn about and practice basic tablet maintenance, handling, rules, strategies and routines.
Device Basics: Learn the various features and functions of the iPad Mini and how to use them, including what the status icons on the screen mean.
Internet Safety: Learn how staying safe in the real world is similar to being safe online.
Introduction to Core Apps: Learn about the apps on the device and how they can be used to complete school assignments. Access the list of these apps by clicking here.
Safe and Ethical Use: Learn about what kinds of information should be kept private online and how information that is put online leaves a digital trail.
After they learn how to use the iPad Minis, students will begin to complete classroom and homework assignments on them. However, before any of the iPad Minis go home, we will be holding a mandatory orientation night that will provide parents/guardians with the opportunity to learn how the devices will be used outside the school day. They will also have a chance to collect information and ask questions about a variety of important issues such as fees, safety, etc. Following the orientation night, each school’s fifth grade teachers and data and instructional technology coach will be available on a day-to-day basis to help parents/guardians with the transition to the take-home stage of the iLearn Initiative.
Additional information about iLearn 97 can be accessed by visiting http://www.op97.org/ilearn97/index.cfm.
In August, the Board of Education approved a proposal that supports the district's referendum promise to increase the integration of technology in the classroom. This proposal, which is being called iLearn 97, represents the critical next phase in our five-year technology plan and will guarantee that every child in our district has access to the resources they need to reach their full potential.
In January 2014, we will kick off iLearn 97 by distributing iPad minis to all of our fifth graders. At first, the devices will be used only in school while teachers and students become accustomed to their use as an educational tool. We will continue to evaluate their use with the eventual goal of allowing students to take the devices home on a daily basis to complete homework, research, and projects. The experience we gain with our 5th graders will allow us to expand the initiative to other grade levels.
Here are some of the things we have been doing this fall to prepare our teachers and students:
- We have implemented a comprehensive set of protocols and procedures that will ensure we have addressed important issues such as safety, security, care and maintenance of the equipment, acceptable use of the devices, etc.
- We continue to provide our teachers with the training they will need to effectively incorporate the iPads into daily instruction.
- We begun implementation of a plan to keep parents/guardians informed and engaged throughout every step of the initiative.
- In October, students participated in important learning activities during Digital Citizenship Week.
- Teachers and our instructional technology coaches have been working to create a set of lessons and materials for the introductory week of the rollout, which we are calling Student Bootcamp. Students will participate in activities related to internet safety, acceptable and ethical use, and expectations of behavior and use.
Before the iPads are sent home with students, each building will host a mandatory parent orientation meeting, which will feature a discussion about a variety of topics including insurance and home use agreements. There will also be student and teacher presentations that will showcase how the iPads have and will continue to be used to enhance learning. We expect to have a schedule of dates for these meetings available at the time of parent-teacher conferences.
Please take a few moments to respond to our brief survey about parent attitudes regarding the use of technology in education.