Technology in schools is going to be more vital than ever because of the ongoing pandemic.
That’s why Congress recently approved emergency support measures specifically to help school districts get through this year.
The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) has set aside $30 million for schools in North Dakota.
KX News stopped by Century High School to see how they are going to use the money in order for all their students to be able to access the technology, to get the education they’re promised.
BPS Technology Director Tanna Kincaid says, “Technology is critical. You mean you just think about the communication and the connections and what that was able to do help keep people moving.”
Bismarck Public Schools received more than $2 million in ESSER funds and they are using some of the money to make sure each and every student gets a Chromebook this year.
Kincaid says, “This year our goal is the 1st grade, 5th grade, and 9th grade which we already had in place would have new machines for next 4 years and then we would fill in some of those gaps with the other students.”
They have come up with a few different methods for teaching through technology this year.
The goal is to be prepared for any scenario Covid might throw at them.
“The one we are hoping to start is face to face as much as possible, but then we have planned for a hybrid or a distance depending on the landscape on where things are and then we have just a distance model where they just intend to access teachers and resources but have their child at home,” says Kincaid.
For months, the tech staff has been organizing and preparing the computers for distribution and even got the students involved through their student intern program.
Reno Ogden is one of the interns and he has spent countless hours tagging computers, fixing broken ones, and dealing with any other technical issues. He says technology is going to be key in learning this year.
Ogden says, “Especially just accessibility for a lot of people who might not want to come to school because of Covid-19 and things they can still participate pretty well. He adds that students and families need to clean these devices .. and be sure to clean them the right way.
“You want to clean the high activity areas or interactive areas so the touch pad, the keyboard,” says Ogden. “And then what you should do is spray on a solution onto the cloth not the machine and rub down lightly and especially on the screen and be careful there so you don’t crack anything or stuff like that.”
Ogden says they use an alcohol and distilled water solution for cleaning and all the software on the computers are teacher and student friendly.
Mandan recieved nearly $900,000 and Minot over a little more than $1.5 million from this grant as well. For more information about the ESSER grant, click here.