Your children's use of technology is very different than yours was, and to some extent, their education is different, too. However, schools need to change even more if we are to be successful in preparing the students of today for the challenges that lie ahead. While many districts have implemented one-to-one initiatives where each student is given a laptop or an iPad, I believe that unnecessarily places the focus on the technology. What is required in education is a digital conversion of the instructional environment. The majority of content will be digital in nature and the major source of that content will be on the Internet. Communication and collaboration among students and between students and teachers will also increasingly be done in a digital format.
Over the past six years the district has slowly but deliberately put in place the foundation for this conversion. All of our classrooms are equipped with Smart Boards, and each year we increase the number of document cameras that are available. The district already has 300 iPads in the schools, many of them allowing our disabled students to access content in ways that were impossible a few years ago. A second computer lab was placed in each of our elementary schools, and students are already taking online assessments that allow teachers to improve instruction. In the summer of 2012, the wireless capacity in MEMS was upgraded to support a one-to-one computer environment, and the same type of wireless environment was installed in Pine Brook School. This summer, each of our 1-5 elementary buildings will become wireless environments. The foundation is in place.
The first major step of our digital conversion began this September. I am very happy and excited to announce the start of the Digital Conversion Pilot at Pine Brook School. I have attached the draft of the Five-Year Digital Conversion Plan. Please review the plan. As you will see, it is my goal that by September of 2017, every sixth, seventh and eighth grade student will be an active learner in a digital instructional environment. Every student between 5th and 8th grade will have their own device that will allow them to access digital content, and instruction throughout the district will be enhanced by the ability to meet the needs of each individual learner. This is a major initiative and will require the support of the entire Manalapan-Englishtown community. I have asked building PTA's and the Foundation to consider supporting this initiative and I am happy to announce that the Pine Brook PTA has already donated $6000.00 for the purchase of 20 additional Chromebook computers.
John J. Marciante Jr. Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Click here to view the 5 Year Digital Conversion Plan...