CALUMET?- The Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium and Keweenaw is extending student learning opportunities far beyond the walls of the classroom as the district is transforming student learning through universal access to technology.
On the first day of school, September 6, the district will be issuing iPads to students in grades 4 through 12 as part of its iCLK Learning Initiative.
"We want to ensure our students have unlimited opportunities to learn anytime and anywhere," Superintendent Darryl Pierce said. "The iPad will open the door to new knowledge and makes learning easily accessible as the entire world's information is at their fingertips."
Pierce said the iPad will change the educational landscape on how students will acquire, interact and use knowledge.
"I believe it is the future of education because it's not so much the knowledge you can put in your head, but how much knowledge you can put in your hands and access it at any given point of time," he said. "The students will be able, at any time, to pull things off the Internet relevant to what they are doing in class."
Unlike textbooks, which quickly become outdated, the iPad provides the up to date content instantly, and in real time.
"It's all content rich, too," said Calumet High School Assistant Principal Sean Jacques. "You're not just looking at information in a textbook -it's colorful, dramatic and it moves. It's going to grab your attention right away."
In addition to online content, Jacques said the iPads have installed applications, which are fully interactive.
"It reaches across all of our content areas from English language arts to science and math, social studies, as well as elective classes," he said.
Applications feature helpful tutorials, hints and problem solving techniques to guide students through a variety of lessons, which is useful when they're working outside of school.
Major news agency applications for FOX, CNN, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today are installed as well, to help students stay informed and up to date on current events.
Education is changing, Pierce said, as more and more school districts throughout the nation are moving in the direction of iPads or some kind of computing device.
"To our knowledge, this is one of the largest K-12 school system 1-to-1 deployments in Michigan, perhaps the nation. Not bad for a small U.P. school," he said, estimating they're issuing more than 1,025 iPads to students. "I just feel this is the way education is going. There's going to be learning going on outside the classroom wherever kids are."
While the iPads will be issued on the first day of school, Pierce said the teaching staff received theirs in May. Apple Computer provided professional training on how to integrate applications and Internet content into the curriculum.
Learning from the iPad increases student engagement and enthusiasm and from what Pierce has heard from students, the response has been with excitement and anticipation.
"A lot of the kids I talked to said they can't wait to come to school this year," he said.
Pierce said their goal as a district is to help students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to responsibly navigate through the modern world.
"The digital generation of students expects instant information and means of communication and we plan on giving them the device to accomplish this," he said. "We are committed at C-L-K in developing 21st century skills so when our students leave the district they will be well prepared to meet the challenges they will face."
Pierce said it is their hope that the iPad will be used as a tool to enhance students' innate and natural curiosity to learn and create a dynamic educational experience at C-L-K Schools.
"Shame on us as educators if we don't provide our students with the very best educational tools to learn from in this rapidly evolving global and technological world," he said.
For more information about the iCLK Learning Initiative, visit www.clkschools.org, or call Superintendent Darryl Pierce at (906) 337-0311 ext. 1217.
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