A groundbreaking initiative to give students in court and
community schools access to computers will help prepare them for success in
college and career.
The goal is to eventually give all students in San Diego
County Office of Education’s (SDCOE) Juvenile Court and Community Schools access
to their own Chromebook computer. So far, more than 1,000 of the laptops have
been distributed to students.
It’s a big change for students that up until recently didn’t
have access to much technology at school.
“It’s very progressive and very much targeting college and
career readiness, because if we expect our students to be ready for college and
career, that’s going to involve technology,” said Greg Ottinger, director of
online and blended learning.
The effort has been in the works for nearly a year and
required lots of planning and preparation. Employees with Integrated Technology
Services, Maintenance and Operation, and Juvenile Court of Community Schools (JCCS)
“We know that just dumping devices into students or teachers
hands is typically a recipe for unintended consequences,” Ottinger said.
Because of this, employees with SDCOE’s Integrated
Technology Services division have worked to train participating teachers. Before getting the laptops, all of the teachers who volunteer for the effort receive Leading Edge Certification through an
eight- to 10-week training focused on online learning. They also attend a
day-long session where they learn about the Chrome operating system as well as
various tools, programs and software.
Having access to the computers will help students in many
ways. Not only will they learn important technology skills and have access to
far more information than they have in the past, but the computers will also help
boost students’ self-esteem and sense of responsibility.
“The use of technology as a tool to help demonstrate
critical thinking and reasoning fits in perfectly with the new state standards
and will build the skills our students will need to be successful adults,” said
Stacy Spector, executive director of the JCCS program.
Students have said that having access to online tools will
help them keep up to date and will make lessons more interesting.
“We’re in a generation where we use a lot of technology, and
we kind of need the technology to help us learn,” a student a Sarah Anthony