Oak Harbor schools getting new technology

Emma Morgan-Mueller, left, Cami Bristow, middle, and Jenna Flores, members of the National Junior Honor Society, test out the new sound system in their language arts classroom. - Photo by Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times
Emma Morgan-Mueller, left, Cami Bristow, middle, and Jenna Flores, members of the National Junior Honor Society, test out the new sound system in their language arts classroom.
— image credit: Photo by Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times

With passage of the levy in 2013, Oak Harbor School District is adding myriad new technology to its schools for the 2014-15 school year.

New gizmos will include 600 new Chromebooks, interactive LCD projectors and classroom sound systems in the middle schools, iPads, computer upgrades and behind-the-scenes upgrades.

These will “ensure that our technology is ready and working when teachers and students need it for teaching and learning,” Superintendent of Schools Lance Gibbon said.

“The learning possibilities offered through mobile computing are very exciting. They provide students ways to collaborate and share documents and projects through GoogleDocs and other applications, view source documents, gather and analyze data, conduct their own research and more.

“It also helps engage students in learning and meets the needs of a wider range of learning styles.”

Every school in the district will have some of the new Chromebooks, and Gibbon said that the elementary schools will also be seeing the interactive projectors given to the middle schools in the future. More upgrades and mobile technology will also be added throughout the school year and in future years.

“Technology allows for much more individualization for students, whether students need extra help or extra challenges,” Gibbon said.

“For teachers, it allows them to seamlessly enhance instruction through multimedia, share student work and ideas on screen and gather and share information with students in powerful new ways.”

Evett Morgan-Mueller, a language arts teacher at Oak Harbor Middle School, said she is excited about the new possibilities her interactive projector offers.

“I have them revise and edit papers, so it will be a fantastic tool that they can all see and watch, instead of (being) by themselves with their own papers,” Morgan-Mueller said.

She hasn’t yet been trained on the new additions. She expects that to happen in the first week of school, so added she isn’t exactly sure of what all of the possibilities might be.

Morgan-Mueller said she’s confident the students will be able to figure it out quickly.

“It will be more the student as teacher than the teacher as teacher,” Morgan-Mueller said.

“And that’s where learning really takes place anyway, isn’t it?”

Training will be offered before the school year starts, with other training activities and workshops to follow throughout the year, Gibbon said.

“I am truly grateful for the support of our local community that has made this possible,” he said.

“Our students now have the technology options and learning experiences on par or above those of our neighboring districts.”

“This is just great for (the students),” Morgan-Mueller said. “Whether it’s going to be difficult or not for me, and it will be, for them, this is easy.

“I will learn far more from them than they will from me.”

“They are my teachers.”

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