The year 2019 has brought many exciting things to the Brainerd Public Schools. Many you can see every time you drive down Oak or South Fifth streets in Brainerd, Lakers Lane in Nisswa or Mapleton Road in Baxter. While these are all exciting changes that we can see from the outside, educational technology is being used as a tool to enhance the way learning is happening inside those walls every day.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, technology is defined as, “...the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry; machinery and equipment developed from the application of scientific knowledge; the branch of knowledge dealing with engineering or applied sciences.”
The word that is used multiple times in this definition is knowledge. Technology is rooted in learning, developing, and applying. Brainerd Public Schools is proud to offer all students opportunities to learn using technology, innovate by developing their thoughts and ideas using technology, and success as they apply that innovation to real-world situations.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are being used at all age levels to learn about and further discuss things such as the solar system, ocean animals, safari animals, great works of literature such as “A Christmas Carol”, wonders of the world including the Great Wall of China, and so much more. These types of exploration lead to an amazing amount of questions and ideas from all including some our hard to reach learners. Many times students are excited to share that they can’t wait to climb Mount Everest after our rock climbing exploration or they want to research tornadoes in more depth because they were able to go inside the tornado and see what it actually looks like with this technology.
Brainerd Public Schools has been a leader in applied sciences and engineering classes for many years. All fifth-12th grade students now have regular access to a device to increase their ability to learn using a professional device, innovate and bring their ideas further, and apply that learning in ways that were not possible before. In the past we were on a cart-based system at Forestview Middle School and not all classes had the opportunity to extend learning with the devices on a regular basis. Our fifth-eighth graders now have access to a device for every class while they are at school. Our ninth-12th graders were all assigned a device to use both in school at home allowing learning to go further for all not only in the classrooms, but also in our students’ homes. These devices along with our classroom sets at the elementary level serve to enhance and grow the already powerful connections and learning that happen every day.
The application of knowledge can be seen in many ways throughout all of the buildings in our district. These examples are just two of the technological tools that are being utilized to help our students learn, develop, and apply knowledge in our classrooms. Brainerd Public Schools looks forward to the continued opportunity to help every learner innovate and succeed!
Sarah Porisch is Director of Technology at Brainerd Public Schools