In USD 247 Northeastís first semester of providing every high-school student a Chromebook, educational traditions have gone out the window.
Lecture-based instruction has turned into dialogue, classrooms have been rearranged, students and teachers have held those roles interchangeably and the school district has become a leader in and teacher of educational technology while still learning.
Northeast High School principal Jason Clemenson said this is all part of preparing students for the world in which they will live and work.
"This generation is going to have no problem adjusting to anything you throw at them as far as technology," Clemenson said.
Superintendent Greg Gorman agreed.
"I think it has better engaged our teachers and students and it's been a real learning curve for both sets of people,"
he said. "I think our teachers are learning as much as our kids are."
He said this is important in the field of education.
"You have to change the way things have been done in the past," Gorman said. "We're in the learning business and the people business. Learning isn't only for the kids. We adults have to learn and it changes the dynamic of education."
Clemenson said he is proud of the way both students and teachers have handled the change.
"It's been a really, really good thing for us," he said. "As it's gone on we've learned more and more and the teachers have learned more and more."
"It's given our students an opportunity they didn't have before," Clemenson continued. "The teachers have done a really good job - our teachers just jumped in using things such as Edmodo."
Additionally, Clemenson said 1:1 technology has changed the dynamic in the classrooms.
"It's opened up a lot more conversation between students and the teachers and between me and the staff," he said. "It's interesting to see how interactive the classes have become. The most major shift is we're starting to see teachers able to flip classes. Now students are delving into the material and the teachers are available for one-to-one help. I think it's opened a lot more discussion in the classroom as well."
The district also continues to innovate and to be a part of seeing where the technology can go.
"I think it will keep evolving and changing," Gorman said.
He said teachers Kristi Blair and Katy Karhoff are participating in a pilot project for online textbooks called CK12.
"Theyíre still putting it together, but they want one class to use their online textbooks. They want another class to use the traditional hard-cover textbooks," Gorman said, adding that the assessments will test the use of traditional textbooks versus online textbooks. "I think itís kind of exciting and Iím looking forward to seeing how things turn out."
He said that while the transition has come with numerous related benefits, the greatest is that they are prepared for life after high school.
"We didn't go to this program to impact test scores, to cut down on paper. We went to this so our kids would be better prepared when they leave Northeast High School," Gorman said. "Technology is going to touch their lives more and more as they become adults."