Digital Learning Initiative
Giving Students a Digital Advantage
Posted on 07/14/2017
CKMS students check out Chromebook laptops.

This fall, middle and high school students will have access to school computers in class and at home.

Just as they check out textbooks, Central Kitsap students will check out Chromebook laptops, protective cases and power cords during the school year. Central Kitsap Middle School piloted the plan earlier this year.

Expanding access to technology is part of a broader digital learning initiative in CK schools. An increase in digital tools for teachers has allowed them to more easily put students at the center of their lessons. And students have noticed.

Where Students Are

“I think my work has become more digital, more independent,” said Central Kitsap Middle School sixth grader Anna.

She ended her math class this year with an animation project. She watched video lessons from Pixar animators. Each student watched or rewatched videos at their own pace. They learned, for example, how animators use parametric equations to create characters and environments.

“It’s a lot more interesting than doing it on a piece of paper,” said seventh grader Zeriah.

CKMS teacher Kelly Balzaretti's classroomTheir teacher, Kelly Balzaretti hears similar comments from other students.

“We need to reach students where they are,” she said. Increasing access to technology is an important step.

Thanks to community levy support, thousands of new computers are available to students. High-speed internet connections and Wi-Fi are in every school. And in the next few years, Wi-Fi speed and coverage will be further improved to ensure each school has ample and consistent access.

During a recent class, Balzaretti led students through an interactive lesson. It centered around a video of a man creating a mosaic with Post-its. She guided students through a series of questions. They guessed dimensions, drew and eventually calculated how many Post-its were needed to cover a board.

From her computer at the front of the class, Balzaretti could see each students’ answers. “It’s like I’m standing over their shoulder the whole time,” she said. When Balzaretti displayed the answer, cheers erupted. “It’s a lot more fun this way,” said sixth grader Michael. He likes the whole Chromebook checkout program in general. He likes not wasting time in every class getting and putting back a computer on a classroom cart.

Always Changing

Students work on Chromebooks in a CKMS classroomTeachers throughout the district are embracing digital tools. They’re getting help from fellow teachers trained as coaches. So many tools are now available. CKMS English and social studies teacher Angela Capilli uses digital documents instead of paper handouts. The digital documents let her provide students with links to information at varying reading levels or different ways to approach a topic.

Students use software to work on projects with groups, create multimedia presentations and more. In the process, they gain a deeper understanding of the concepts they learn in class. “There’s nothing static about learning anymore, it’s really dynamic,” Capilli said.

But students don't spend all school day on computers. Teachers plan hands-on or group activities. In a recent lesson on Africa, Capilli’s students researched African art. Then they put away their Chromebooks and painted.

Capilli constantly updates her lessons. She finds news ideas from other teachers via Twitter. She is passionate about using technology in her classroom. “Students without access to technology in the classroom are at a disadvantage,” Capilli said. Today’s students will enter a workforce heavily shaped — and often reshaped — by technology.

“Right now, something is changing,” she said. “How do we teach kids to be adaptable and

Checkout Process

This year, all students in grades 6-12 can check out Chromebook laptops for school and home use.

Students will check out Chromebooks, laptops, protective cases and power cords. You can find more about the checkout process, including forms and insurance information on our Digital Classroom Tools (Learning > Technology). Click the Chromebook Checkout step-by-step link.

Chromebook icon