Just months into Rock Hill schools $9 million initiative to put an iPad in the hands of every fourth- through eighth-grade student, and the reviews from students, parents and teachers seem positive.
Monday night, the Rock Hill school board heard its first update on iRock since its full implementation at the start of this school year.
Students, parents and teachers were surveyed about the multi-year technology program in the fall. Findings included:
• More than 83 percent of the 4,600 students participating in iRock agreed or strongly agreed that they had the technology they needed in the classroom. Nearly three-quarters of students disagreed or strongly disagreed that they used technology in class too much.
• More than half of the 431 parents surveyed strongly agreed that there was value in using technology for projects. Less than a third of parents agreed or strongly agreed that students were using too much technology.
• Two-thirds of the parents said they strongly agreed or agreed that they were pleased with how technology was being used at school. More than 70 percent said their childs classes were more interesting to them when technology was utilized.
• Most of the 481 teachers surveyed reported that theyre getting enough professional development in using technology and developing instructional strategies that incorporate technology. More than half also said they need more professional development.
• Just over 16 percent of teachers agrees or strongly agreed theyve seen improvement in student performance and behavior, but far more reported they either disagree theres been improvements or they neither agree nor disagree.
Students and teachers did report problems connecting to the network in the schools.
Harriet Jaworowski, associate superintendent for instruction and accountability, said that at the beginning of the year, a lot of work was in progress to fix the networks.
Board members did not comment about the surveys results, but member Ann Reid asked what would be done with the survey results. Jaworowski said administrators would look for progress in another survey in the spring.
Anthony Cox, associate superintendent for administrative services, also addressed concerns teachers and administrators had expressed to board members about changes to printing policies.
The district was trying to reduce its printing budget by 8 percent, he said, based on what other districts had experienced when implementing digital initiatives. Administrators were doing so in a way that should improve quality, he said, while reducing costs and making it easier on teachers and administrators.
Rachel Southmayd • 803-329-4072