State launches 'smart schools' brought about by Layton lawmakers' bill

Oct 24 2012 - 3:59pm

SALT LAKE CITY - Gov. Herbert along with representatives from GOED, State Superintendent Martell Menlove, principals from North Sevier High School and Gunnison Valley Elementary, and iSchool Campus executives, launched two of the first public Smart Schools in Utah.

The Smart School Technology Program encourages the deployment of whole-school technology in Utah's public schools. During today's event, each student and teacher in the participating schools received an iPad to facilitate 21st century learning. The technology program will help the students develop the critical digital and technology skills needed to compete and thrive in a global digitally driven economy.
Based on SB 248, sponsored by Republicans Sen. Jerry Stevenson and Rep. Stephen Handy, both of Layton, the Smart School Technology Program provides the following deployment features in each school: wireless infrastructure, flat screen TVs with device mirroring technology, MacBook computers in every classroom, an Apple iPad for every student and teacher, internet security, software and professional development for teachers, administrators and school technology offices. Of the 40 schools that applied, three were selected by GOED: North Sevier High School, Gunnison Valley Elementary, and Dixon Middle School in Provo, set to launch next month.
Herbert said, "By combining our best teachers with the best technology, students win. When students finish school and go on to get jobs, they will have to be more tech-savvy and innovative than any previous generation in history."   
"The Smart School deployment has generated enormous enthusiasm among teachers, parents and students in these two rural communities," stated Jill Porter, principal at North Sevier High School. "Our students will be presented with a world of possibilities in learning and gaining real-life thinking and problem solving skills that will better prepare them for the next step towards a productive future." Principal Grant Hansen of Gunnison Valley echoed the excitement about being chosen as one of the first public Smart Schools in Utah. "Today is the first day of a new era in public education.  Not only will our teachers be provided with additional tools and resources to engage students in new and exciting ways, our children will become fluent in creative technology that will only continue to change and progress as time passes.  We feel students do best when they are engaged in the learning process, and Smart School technology brings that concept to life."  
Through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, local technology company iSchool Campus was selected as the vendor to provide and implement the comprehensive technology. iSchool president Neil Ashdown stated, "An educated workforce is crucial for a prosperous economy. We are thrilled to be part of this exciting initiative to provide students and teachers with the opportunity to learn through innovative and imaginative methods.  The Smart School approach allows Utah students to develop the critical learning skills they will need to be competitive when they enter college and the workforce."
The Smart School Technology Program also includes professional development and ongoing support for teachers, robust wireless infrastructure, safe and secure web filtering so students can work with their devices at home, and proprietary software to connect students and teachers.

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