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Auburn, Alabama Case Study

A variety of digital learning tools lets students have fun.

Auburn City Schools’ 21st Century Learning Initiative has a powerful mission: “To prepare students and educators to be contributing members of an ever-increasing technological and global society through an anytime, anywhere learning environment.”

And true to that mission, Auburn City Schools has implemented a program where they put mobile computers in the hands of the district’s 8th and 9th graders for 24/7 use.

The materials include:

  • Digital curricular materials and subscription services
  • Self-paced lessons, modules, and courses
  • “Sandbox storage space” for new kinds of communications exchanges and new online communities that meet safety and quality requirements
  • Educational computer games and simulations that are educationally sound but entertaining enough to compete with “non-educational” games kids might want to play at home.

The state of Alabama has long offered school districts the option to use “textbook” funds to purchase software. “It’s great to have that flexibility,” says Director of Technology Debbie Rice, who explains that, in addition to other digital content, purchasing digital versions of textbooks has been a high priority for the district in recent years.

She goes on to say, “All textbooks are loaded on the student units, and fewer are being purchased by the junior high. For example, in foreign language classes we’ve purchased one set per classroom instead of one book per student.”

Dr. Jason Wright, principal of Auburn Junior High School, explains that his school is committed to “a professional learning community approach, rather than a stand-and-deliver approach,” from the classroom to the faculty room. Auburn is preparing to take their digital experience to the next level with an about-to-be-launched online web portal designed to further integrate the digital experience throughout the district.

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