Anoka-Hennepin Schools Prepares Technology for Online Learning
On Thursday, a cluster of Anoka-Hennepin educators were in the parking lot at Champlin Park High School. They were handing out chrome books and supplies to kids and parents, as a parade of cars and trucks came by to pick them up.
It was all part of prepping for distance learning, which begins Monday at schools across the state. Anoka-Hennepin, the largest school district in Minnesota, wants to make sure that every student has access to a computer.
“These are chrome books that we’ve already had in the district,” said Dr, Joel VerDuin, Anoka-Hennepin Chief Technology and Information Officer. “We have somewhere in the neighborhood of about 35,000 chrome books. That’s slightly less than our total student population. Our intent is to have as many kids equipped with a digital device, which could be our chrome book. It could be a computer that they have at home. We want to make sure they are fully prepared for online instruction.”
Technology access crucial
Schools in the Northwest suburbs have been part of the digital world for years now. But, because the COVID 19 pandemic has closed schools in the state, it’s even more important that students are up to speed at home when it comes to technology.
“With students having no access to our building it’s absolutely crucial that our students have access to technology,” VerDuin said. “It provides our teachers a way to deliver instruction and to stay engaged with the kids. We are intent on having that as fully deployed as we possibly can by the end of the day on Friday.”
The Chrome Book distribution went smoothly. Everyone was upbeat and friendly as they dealt with a steady stream of vehicles. It’s certainly been a hectic couple of weeks for A-H administrators, teachers and others as they prep for computer learning.
“This is only one part of the scramble,” VerDuin said. “In addition to all of our teachers doing a massive amount of planning, they are learning how to be a teacher in an online world today, which is new for so many of them. We have been planning for all of the other components for what we have to do from the Governor’s orders. Which are also child care for essential workers, then delivery of food. Then figuring out all the other employee issues which come with shelter in place.”
A-H students will begin hearing from their teachers through Google Classroom on Monday when school resumes.
To learn more about what other school districts are doing during the coronavirus shutdown, click here.