In his recent presentation to the , Clint Kennedy, Chief Technology Officer for Branford Schools, addressed the hope to have all high school students bring their own hand-held devices to school for learning purposes.
“There are many school districts in the state of Connection that assume students will be doing the wrong thing with the technology and assume that upfront and cut-off access – Branford has a slightly different take on that,” said Kennedy. “We expect them to be using it appropriately and we then leverage it for educational purposes.”
While the recently proposed FY2013 capital budget does include some funding for new hand-held devices, those will not be used at the high school level. The district, in essence, is not purchasing iPads for every student.
Students grades 9 to 12 will be encouraged to continue to bring in internet-connected devices like cellphones, laptops and e-readers to school. An emphasis on getting students and teachers to embrace the use of technology in the classroom will come from Kennedy as well as the proposed hire of a district-wide instructional coach, explained schools .
Of his hope to continue to provide a technologically progressive school environment, Hernandez said, “What we don’t want to do is expose our kids to something and then have it drop off," he said. "Once they graduate," he added, "that’s the environment that they go to.”
At the elementary level, the budget proposes every classroom will have new projectors and access to touch devices. The elementary schools will also have two traveling computer labs available for instruction.
At the middle school, a pilot of a 1 student to 1 device is being explored for 2012-13. will be getting refreshed lap tops, new projectors and student chrome books.
The school technology and 21st century AV systems, now one budget line item, is requested at $308,966 for FY2013. The total technology requested budget is $395,166 – the total capital budget request is $805,666.
Though not reflected in the FY2013 budget, Hernandez said he’d like the board to consider leasing computer equipment in the future. He said Branford is one of the only school districts left still purchasing new equipment. The upfront cost to lease is more he explained but added that equipment maintenance is less long-term.
Branford has hopes to stay relevant with technology use as 21st century learning becomes more and more the trend. Last year the school system invested more than $10,000 in a program and will be keeping it running in the near future.