Rotary learns about One-to-One, announces Galion local chosen for GSE
By Matt Echelberry
Galion Rotary Club heard about the One-to-One Technology program during its Oct. 10 meeting. The guest speaker was Dr. Kathy Jenney, superintendent for Galion City Schools.
Jenney said the administration started looking into technology possibilities two years ago by visiting other schools and attending seminars. GCS did a pilot program last year in which seventh graders got laptops. Jenney said the pilot was very successful and, over the last few months, she and her staff worked to initiate a district-wide program.This school year, students in grades six through nine have received Mac Air laptops. Earlier this week, iPads were presented to Intermediate School students. The goal was to purchase one device for every child in the district.
While it may have been a considerable goal, Jenney was confident in the decision to implement the program. “I believe it will fundamentally change education,” she commented.
She further explained that students get to be creative on how they present their work—whether they utilize programs on their devices or turn in traditional papers. One-to-One will also better prepare them for an evolving job market.
In terms of other advantages, text books have been going digital for the last several years, so allowing students more access to devices means the district can save money by purchasing digital versions of books (which are usually cheaper). Also, some students come from low-income families and can be disadvantaged because they have no access to technology at home.
Students are taught how to handle and care for the devices. Taking them home on evenings and weekends is optional but extra fees are involved, such as the purchase of a carrying case and insurance.
All of the laptops and iPads have a tracking system and content filter. Also, technology staff can add or remove content from a central server.
Jenney said they chose Apple products because of the educational support options that the company offers. One-to-One was funded through grant money, but mostly using the money that would have been used on a new bus maintenance garage.
Jenney also emphasized that a program like this does not replace teachers, they just need to let go of some of the control that they have traditionally had. According to her, the possibilities for the program are endless, as kids are naturally intrigued by technology.
In club business, President Dave Halsey announced that Dustin Fox, director of International Development for his family’s local business, was selected for the Rotary District 6600 Group Study Exchange. GSE is a cultural and vocational exchange program for young business professionals.
Fox is an alumnus of Galion High School, where he was a two-time state champion in wrestling. He went on to Northwestern University in Chicago and was the 2009 Big Ten and NCAA heavyweight champion.
Now Fox will be visiting India in January of 2013 with five other team members for the Ohio district. Rotary International pays for the travel so that these individuals will be able to tour cities and learn more about the culture for four weeks.
Rotary dictionaries were passed out to third-graders recently. The club received a request from St. Bernard’s for a donation; students in grades five through seven do not currently have dictionaries.
Club member Dennis Trammel suggested donating some hard bound dictionaries to the school for the library because the newest edition there is from 1968. This would hopefully be cheaper than ordering a dictionary for all of those students because the approximately 40 dictionaries needed would not be enough to get a discounted rate.
The club will be helping with Trick or Treat: Move Your Feet on Oct. 25 (in the Uptowne District). Rotary Leadership Training will be Nov. 3. Also, Halsey said Rotary will sign up for Bingo Nights at the Galion Intermediate School soon.
Galion Rotary Club meets every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., at the Varsity Grille. The Nov. 28 meeting is cancelled because it is the day before Thanksgiving.