• Orange Co. launches digital curriculum pilot program


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The Orange County School District is shelling out $10 million this year on new technology.

    Orange County is using to learn how to integrate digital devices into all classrooms.

    The money will digitally outfit seven schools in a pilot program.

    It was the teachers' turn to learn at Liberty Middle School during a crash course in digital technology.

    "It's a learning experience for me, too. I'm teaching something different this year, I'm changing everything I do," said math teacher Meagan VanSant.

    Teachers and students at seven orange county schools will be going digital.

    "It's not just a matter of having a digital PDF book that you can download to a computer, but actually using the resources that come with an online curriculum," board member Daryl Flynn said.

    Orange county is using seven schools to learn the best usable and reliable digital equipment.

    Each school will have different brands and different devices.

    "It's vital in terms of our district moving forward and having a scalable plan for rolling out technology into the hands of students district wide," said Mariel Milano with the Orange County School District.

    Along with learning what works best -- it's also a teaching moment -- for teachers.

    "We're going to see a reverse role in the classroom, where the students are so far ahead of some of the teachers in using iPads and laptops and knowing the technology," second grade teacher Robert Prater said.

    Other districts that have gone digital say another plus is making going to school fun for students.

    "It's more engaging for the students, so you're able to reach some students that you might not be able to with a regular book and pencil," Flynn said.

    The schools that are part of this year's pilot program are Ocoee High School, Corner Lake, Hunter's Creek and Liberty middle schools and Millennia, Pinewood, and Wetherbee elementary schools.

    The program is in preparation for a new state mandate in 2015, which will require all schools in Florida spend 50 percent of their budgets on digital curriculums.

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