MISD students given digital devices to call their own

Midland ISD students given digital devices to call their own

Midland Independent School District (MISD) students have something to celebrate: Students now have access to their own digital learning devices free of charge. They previously had to borrow a device from the district each school day.

As a 1:1 technology district, Kindergartners and first graders are using iPads, while other students from second grade on up are using Google Chromebooks, according to the MISD. Devices typically last for four-to-five years; students can now take it home and it will stay with them as they progress through school grade levels.

Executive Director of Technology Fatima Muñiz said that learning is increasingly taking place in a digital environment, so curricula have moved to devices such as iPads and Chromebooks. She emphasized that it’s critical that students have access to a device without checking it in-and-out.

The district said that Chromebooks will go a long way in helping students prepare for state-mandated assessment testing, which for most happens on a computer. Muñiz said that helping students become familiar with basic computer tasks like typing, dragging and dropping will prepare them for these tests. Students’ computer preparation also goes beyond testing, she said, noting that “getting students trained in tech is a critical component of preparing them for college or career.”

MISD said it uses GoGuardian to keep track of student activity and ensure a safe learning experience for students. Beacon is also used to notify staff of potential threats of self-harm or harm to others. Muñiz said the district takes student safety very seriously, including in a digital learning environment.

She also said the devices are also a great lesson in responsibility—i.e., it’s theirs and they have to take care of it. The district said that in the event of malfunctions, accidents or missing devices, students will receive a loaner while staff will try to make any repairs in-house. Parents can opt to purchase insurance from a third-party to cover the cost of repairs/replacements, or a fee will be charged to them, the district added.

The bottom line? All MISD student will now have a device to call their own.

“Digital technology is so ubiquitous that it’s critical for all students to have a device in their hands,” said Muñiz, noting that students will carry what they learn throughout their lives.