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Technology Plays an Essential Role at RISD


Posted Date: 08/08/2018

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By: Raymondville Media Staff

 

         Raymondville Independent School District proudly features technology driven instruction, classroom learning, and top notch security at all campuses.

         The district utilized 16 interactive flat panels that feature user-friendly touch screens through a pilot program to enhance technology-based classroom instruction. The pilot program will be continued in the Fall.

         “We received very positive feedback from teachers,” explained the district Instructional Technology Coordinator Dara Cepeda,” flat panels in the classroom allow teachers to airplay their Mac Books as wireless projectors. Technology in the classroom increases student engagement and participation, which leads to an increase in learning from students.”

         The district also employs iTech days, an onsite technology conference designed to train teachers to teach other educators in establishing digital learning environments in their classrooms.

         “Each campus has an iTech team made up of 4-5 teachers that serve as models for a digital learning environment. After attending iTech training sessions, teachers learn and share with other teachers. The idea is that teachers often learn best from other teachers, then use this knowledge to be better technology-based instructors,” stated Cepeda.

         Also new to the district will be Google Certified Educators and 3D printers.

         “We currently have 12 Google Certified Educators, but our plans are to increase that number. A Google Certified Educator demonstrates effective knowledge of Google Apps for education and instruction purposes,” added Cepeda,” We are a Google district, meaning we use it to teach, collaborate, and communicate with teachers and students. Teachers in the district will have the opportunity (this Fall) to get Google Educator Certified and also get recognized as Apple teachers.”

         3D printers are cutting edge components in PBL lessons (problem based learning) where students identify a problem, create a solution, then design a solution using the innovative printers.       

         “3D printers are a new, exciting tool in learning to solve a problem in the classroom using critical thinking skills and technology,” said Cepeda,” we have a 3D printer at every campus.”

         The district maintains a strong and clear vision when it comes to technology in the classroom.

         “The mission of the Instructional Technology Department is to provide faculty, staff, and students the necessary resources to utilize current and emerging technological tools for life-long learning. The goal is for teachers to integrate technology to strengthen and transform teaching and learning,” stated Cepeda,” we want students to feel comfortable with technology and acquire skills to be productive members of a technology-rich world.”

         “Technology is a critical part of our classrooms as well as our after-school program,” added Assistant Superintendent Ben Clinton. “Our students have the opportunity to participate in science, technology, and robotics through the Community Youth Development Program.  Teacher training and the new technology that we’ve added are making school more engaging for students.” 

         Another strong component of the technology department is the robust network available in the district.

         “Our district network starts at the central office and connects to all our campuses. That connection is a 10-gigabit connection,” explained David Flores, the Network Administrator for the district,” most districts have a 1 gig connection, so we are fortunate to have greater capabilities. Having a 10-gigabit connection allows network traffic in the district to flow faster.”

          Technology also plays an essential role with security at RISD, where safety is a major priority. Fire alarm updates were made at both Pittman and L.C. Smith Elementary campuses to meet current codes mandated by the state. The other campuses in the district will receive the same update soon.

         At Myra Green Middle School, 16 additional cameras were placed throughout the campus to upgrade student and staff safety.

         “Originally, the Myra Green campus was built with 15 cameras that provided a broad overview of hallways. Now with the additional 16 cameras, we have more coverage and visibility along hallways and corridors,” said Flores.

         New intrusion alarms were installed at the elementary campuses similar to the ones found at the middle and high school campuses to increase safety and security.   

         “The new intrusion alarms have a code that is set once the campus is cleared for the day. If an unauthorized person attempts to open the doors without permission, the alarm alerts the proper authorities automatically,” stated Flores.

         “The safety of our students, staff, and faculty is a top priority,” added Superintendent Stetson Roane,” we want the focus to be on learning for students and instruction for teachers. It is important for everyone in our district to feel safe and secure.”

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