The steering team for the Washington School District’s technology focus group made a site visit Tuesday to the North Kansas City School District to learn more about its iPad initative.

Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said team members were to hear from administrators, teachers, students, IT personnel and others on how the program is working in several of the district’s high schools.

As part of the Washington Way Project, Focus Group 3 is developing a plan to best incorporate technology into the daily work environment of district students.

VanLeer said site visits to schools already utilizing iPads or other types of devices in their classrooms daily are one way the district is gleaning valuable information.

“This is an opportunity to see firsthand this type of learning environment which has been in place in that district for about five years,” VanLeer told The Missourian.

As part of its 1:1 (one student to one device) learning environment, the North Kansas City School District provides a free laptop to every high school student. The district also is close to rolling out a pilot program at its middle schools as well.

VanLeer said steering team members will share some of their findings and observations Wednesday night when the full technology focus group meets from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Technology and Learning Center.

“There’s so much to consider from implementation to financing, device selection, infrastructure and training,” she said. “We are trying to learn as much as we can, especially from schools already fully engaged in 1:1 learning.”

VanLeer said team members last week visited Lindbergh School District which allows students to bring in their own devices at the high school level, and offers a more blended program of providing some devices and allowing students to bring them in at the elementary and middle schools.

VanLeer said the Washington School District’s technology goal is to help students become more engaged and improve their achievement levels in all areas.

Focus group members are continuing to research six aspects of the plan – communications, device selection, evaluation, funding, implementation and professional learning.

At Wednesday’s meeting, VanLeer also hopes to share some of the data from a recent technology survey completed by teachers, students and patrons.

“We are supposed to get the report on Wednesday and if we do will can give some of the highlights,” she said.

At last month’s technology focus group meeting, more than 50 people turned out, including community members, students and educators.

The group heard from network administrator Dale Loesing who described the district’s current network infrastructure and the requirements necessary to implement a wireless environment.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of Focus Group 3, should contact Julie Bell at 636-231-2006 for more information.