Abilene ISD to switch to technology-only teaching method


ABILENE, Texas (KRBC) - The Abilene Independent School District (AISD) is making strides in bringing innovation to classrooms by switching entirely to technology-based curriculum for math and science.

This is something that will affect the 13,000 AISD kindergarten through 8th grade students.

One Abilene teacher is already using her own method of technology teaching.

We are getting a glimpse of what your child's education could like like this time next year.

Kristin Summerlin is a mathematics teacher at Madison Middle School with a different kind of teaching method.

"During these lessons, we all have Promethean boards and I actually use what is called Swivl technology. (it looks like this) "To record my lessons," Summerlin said.

No, textbooks, just technology.

"I think these kids live in a digital, interactive world and for me, I want to meet their needs the best way that I know how," Summerlin said.

Summerlin teaches 8th grade mathematics and 7th grade pre-ap.

"I create notes and put them into their interactive notebooks. So, everything that they do in my class is very interactive and it's also lessons that are designed completely for them because I know them better than anyone else," Summerlin said.

She said she is one of a dozen teachers in the district who use this method.

"I've just really seen students take charge of their learning and seen some significant growth," Summerlin said.

By this time next year, all of AISD will have switched to technology.

The Abilene ISD school board met on Oct. 2 to discuss the future of how students from kindergarten through 8th grade will be taught in these two subjects; much of the discussion surrounding textbooks.

Dr. Abigayl Barton is the Associate Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction said for the school district. She said, the district is in its 4th year of an 8-year-adoption plan for the math and science curriculum.    
The district has used $1.3 million of their allotment budget for this plan.

"At the time of adoption, four years ago, the decision was made to adopt four years of print materials and then eight years of digital," Dr. Barton said. "What we did was we took the question to our school board for some direction. "We wanted to add innovation into our classrooms and creativity and really help our students live in a digital world as part of that," Dr Barton said.

The dilema is whether or not they need to purchase additional print materials to supplement the technology or continue with the original plan.

"We have funding through the instructional materials allotment that the state provides the districts every two years. So, it's a two-year budget and districts have the opportunity to decide how to best fit the need of their students and purchase exactly what's needed," Dr. Barton said.

That decision will be made by the board of trustees sometime in the spring, either way Dr. Barton said they will provide everything each student needs.

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