As the typical classroom setting has evolved, technology has become not just a supplement to learning but primary to it and embracing tech as the new paper and pencil is integral to the success of students and educators.
Orange Unified School District (OUSD) in Southern California is an instructive example of how to do it for any school or district looking to enhance students’ tech in big or small ways. And below are three of the top goals, and resulting benefits, OUSD had when it thoughtfully planned how to rework its offerings.
As a district serving 28,000 students from six cities and diverse backgrounds ranging from the affluent to the economically challenged, OUSD has moved from a piecemeal tech approach to uniform technology that is equitable for students and simple for IT staff to centrally manage and maintain from anywhere. Like schools around the world, OUSD sprang into action when the pandemic struck and called for students to learn from home in 2020. In OUSD’s case, this included brainstorming how to best equip every student with a device.
It ordered 16,000 Dynabook Tecra® A40 and Dynabook Portégé® X30 devices running Windows10 Pro. Nine days later, the devices began to roll in, and with the help of librarians and school sites the district was able to hand out the thousands of devices to students on the first day of school in August 2020.
Goal 1. Equitable and inclusive solutions
As a vast and diverse school district, OUSD anticipated a number of disparities would surface as students transitioned to remote learning environments, such as gaps in Wi-Fi access and technology quality. To mitigate this, OUSD sought a primary solution to level the playing field between students: uniform devices. Providing that enabled all students to work and learn from the same tools, encouraging equitable and accessible learning. And with some students learning in more challenging home environments than others, OUSD chose devices integrated with certain tools that facilitate social emotional learning, such as those that help students express their emotions and collaborate with friends and classmates – supporting the whole student.
Goal 2. Robust and comprehensive devices
To streamline the remote learning and working experiences for everyone from educators to students and IT staff, OUSD needed devices with expansive features and capabilities. The adoption of the Dynabook devices and Windows 10 Pro enabled OUSD to be practical and efficient, as the technology was exhaustive enough to handle online learning for all ages and grades in the district serving K-12 students. Transitioning from a piecemeal approach to a more ideal one-stop-shop approach also helped OUSD’s IT staff centrally manage devices remotely, including with autopilot and auto-enrolled capabilities. The transition also allowed for easy storage of files on the cloud, seamless transfer of data, simple troubleshooting of issues, and painless deployment and maintenance of devices. In simplifying the work of IT staff, students and teachers were able to better learn and teach without disruption.
Goal 3. Support positive student outcomes for the long-haul
Overall, OUSD’s focus was and continues to be on powering positive student outcomes. In choosing devices that promoted accessibility and equity, streamlined IT operations, enhanced remote student engagement, and secure and simply ways of learning for students, OUSD delivered on its promise to create learning experiences capable of propelling students toward success both in and outside of the classroom. OUSD hunted for tools that would help make its students more competitive and armed for success wherever life may take them and whatever their learning environment.
OUSD’s efforts highlight how leveraging the right tools and devices can reinforce a commitment to students’ success and make a world of difference in student outcomes and learning experiences. Read more about OUSD’s success story and explore the various tools and devices available to help schools and educators power long-term success for their students in the tech age.