iPad Program Transforms Learning for All Students at Dwyer Technology Academy

ELIZABETH – The Elizabeth School District announced last week that it is creating a 1:1 computer environment for all of its students and team members at the John E. Dwyer Technology Academy (JEDTA). Each Dwyer Technology student in grades 9-12 will be provided with an iPad as one of their new learning tools.

This program will be part of the school’s effort to improve teaching and learning and transform the environment at this technology school into one of the most advanced in New Jersey.

“We believe that this initiative will help level the playing field for all of our students regardless of their ability, their socioeconomic status and any challenges that they may be faced with,” stated Francisco González, Board of Education member. “Our students deserve the best and we are working hard to fulfill that mission with hundreds of improvements taking place at this and other high schools throughout Elizabeth.”

Almost six months of planning and training have gone into the introduction of the iPad for the Dwyer Technology learning community. Teachers and coaches have undergone extensive professional development in the use of iPads and will continue to receive support and training through the newly introduced iLeap Care Center. The iLeap Care Center operates as an onsite help desk. It is the Elizabeth Public Schools’ version of the “Genius Bar” which provides support at Apple stores throughout the world.

Alberto Marsal, Coordinator of the Technology Department, believes that the introduction of iPads will help capture the attention and commitment of JEDTA students. “We have already seen increased student engagement as a result of our initial rollout of these iPads,” said Marsal. “This will undoubtedly lead to higher attendance, increased student achievement and a positive attitude for all our students.”

González said, “Our technology rich environment will be a catalyst for 21st century learning and will help the school district move forward by ‘flipping the classroom,’ meaning that instructional content can be studied at home, allowing for real application of the material to take place in the classroom under the careful guidance of our teachers.”

“iPads afford our students 24 hour learning, providing them an even greater amount of resources and instructional materials at school and at home so they can become successful graduates of our high school system,” said Paul Perreira, Board Member of Elizabeth Public Schools. “Our school district already has the most stringent graduation requirements in the State of New Jersey with 160 credits and 60 community service hours needed to graduate. Our rigorous curriculum combined with this new technology will prepare our children for college and beyond.”

Following extensive research on the latest technologies, including laptops, Netbooks, E-readers and other tablet devices, the District decided to use iPads, because they found the iPad to be the best classroom device available on the market today. The multifunctionality, long battery life, and lightweight dimensions of the iPad, along with Apple’s proven record of deploying iPads at schools, all contributed to the selection of this technology.

The district continues to work on integrating the latest in hardware, software and internet access throughout the district and in the entire curriculum.

The Elizabeth Public Schools Technology team has been working diligently to provide new hardware, not only at John Dwyer Technology Academy, but at other schools where iPads, notebook computers, iPods and other devices are being introduced into the classroom to provide a state of the art education for Elizabeth’s children. The teaching-learning process will incorporate 21st century skills, including decision making, cooperation, creativity, high productivity, and inventive thinking.

Teachers are also being provided iPads to enable them to receive real-time access to student records, test data and other academic resources as well as professional development which allows for enhanced teaching and learning in every classroom.

Collaboration and cooperation is being encouraged among students, staff, parents, and the community leveraging these new tools. John E. Dwyer Technology Academy students and teachers will model the innovative use of technology in the classroom inspiring others to explore new opportunities for learning.

A user agreement policy for the proper use and maintenance of these highly valuable tools has been developed and is in use in the district.

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