Kent School District uses Windows 10 to enhance student learning

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 15 April 2016
Kent School District uses Windows 10 to enhance student learning

The Kent School District in Washington State, US, is using the Windows 10 operating system to help boost student engagement and academic achievement.

Kent School District has a diverse demographic of around 28,000 students based at 43 campuses across Washington State. The district has actively focused on building communities and adopting innovative technology.

“Since 2009, we have built sustained community engagement in our initiative to provide all our students with meaningful technology resources and innovative learning opportunities,” said Stosh Morency, interim chief information and digital strategy officer at the Kent School District.

By 2015, the district was already providing a laptop running Windows 7 to every student from seventh to twelfth grade, but wanted to expand the programme for elementary schools students. This would double the number of devices it would have to distribute and manage, but would also help students connect with peers, teachers and information.

The school district has a longstanding relationship with Microsoft and when it saw the possibilities of Windows 10, particularly the ability to update the operating system without having to manually refresh each device, it became an early adopter.

Kent School District worked with Microsoft Services to launch a pilot project in February 2015 at four elementary schools. This saw 590 Surface Pro 3 tablets delivered to students in grades four to six, and 400 HP EliteBook 820 laptops to those in grades one to three. Windows 10 was deployed on all devices, with more than 100 teachers and librarians across the four schools also upgrading to Windows 10.

Students are now using OneNote to collaborate on team research projects, to track assignments, and to share projects with teachers and receive feedback.

“Students who get done quickly can find resources for additional exploration, and online assignments provide different types of direction and guidance for students who learn in different ways,” said Beth Sommerville, a Teacher-Librarian Technology Integration Specialist at Fairwood Elementary School in the Kent School District. “Even teachers that were initially resistant now love the Windows 10 devices because students are more engaged and less disruptive.”

Teachers can monitor progress in their students using tools such as OneNote Class Notebooks, SharePoint Online and OneDrive, which in turn helps them to personalise learning experience for individual students. Also, with school experiences now more closely resembling students’ home lives, it is hoped they will be better prepared for a technology-based workplace in the future.

Following this successful pilot rollout, which concluded in January 2016, Kent School District has began distributing Windows 10 PCs to all its elementary school libraries. The IT team expects to install Windows 10 on 26,000 devices across the school district by the start of the next academic year.

Furthermore, thanks to the enhanced security and encryption features built into Windows 10, the district’s IT team is able to distribute devices to students and teachers with confidence.

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