REDMOND, OR -- The Redmond School District will launch a new initiative this fall, issuing electronic devices to every high school student. Jeremy MacDonald, head of Technology and Innovation for the district, tells KBND they tested the idea on a handful of incoming freshman, last year. "About 120 students last year had an iPad to use for academics in all their classrooms. This year, we’ve decided to expand that to all high school students. We’re moving away from a tablet device and going to a different device this year. But, now every student in grade 9-12 will have a device to use at school and at home for academics." Superintendent Mike McIntosh says instead of iPads, students will get a new model of Chrome-book, and training is already underway for teachers and staff.
McIntosh acknowledges Redmond is two years behind Bend-La Pine Schools in making the digital conversion with students, but he says they’re still ahead of most districts. "We’re in that awkward stage of, there’s technology that’s available, but a year from now it’s already going to be antiquated. I don’t regret for a minute waiting longer than, say Bend, because what we would’ve chosen a year ago is not what we would’ve chosen right now for the device. The curriculum is changing daily. I think we’re doing it very systematically on one hand, but very appropriately, timing-wise, on the other hand."
For parents with security concerns, McIntosh says students are ready. "We have a culture of responsibility. There’s no way to build a fence high enough or a firewall thick enough or a filter that will catch everything. We’re going to lean on some parents and kids to use them responsibility. Because we can’t, and then at the same time expect them to have access that’s wide enough to do the things we expect them to do with these devices." He tells KBND the district will work with families to make sure students have access to wi-fi both in and out of school.
Students participating in the district’s Camp 9
summer school program will be the first to receive their devices next month. The "One to One" initiative rolls out to all high school students in September.