New Richmond EVSD now has enough tablets for each preschool student to use both in school and remotely.
A visionary initiative from 2018 to get tablets into the hands of district preschool students takes on even greater importance during the pandemic of 2020.
Initially, tablets were introduced to New Richmond Exempted Village School District preschool students in early 2019 to provide additional enrichment opportunities. The purchase was made in partnership with Clermont County Chamber of Commerce’s KLICWOW, a program that provides tablets to preschool-aged children at no cost.
The district received 16 tablets from KLICWOW and matched the gift by purchasing another 16 devices.
As a result of the pandemic, however, the tablets have been elevated from an enrichment tool to a tool of productivity.
“The remote learning experience from last spring taught us that it’s really challenging to provide a remote preschool experience to 3- and 4-year-olds without being able to connect with them,” NREVSD Director of Student Services John Frye said. “And then we discovered that Amazon Fires can host Zoom calls.”
For less than $4,000 the district expanded its offering of tablets to secure enough devices for each preschool student, Mr. Frye said. If NREVSD is required to again move to a remote learning platform, preschool teachers and students are ready to connect.
“With the use of the Amazon Fire tablets, the preschool teachers will be able to connect every school day with every child through Zoom class meetings,” according to Mr. Frye. “The Amazon Fire is also equipped with a catalog of academic apps that we use every day with the children in preschool minimizing the paper-pencil requirements if we have to go remote again.
“You can’t replace the interaction of children with their teacher and children with other children, and we can provide that through our class meetings using the Amazon Fires.”
Overall, New Richmond Schools are nearly 1:1 for technology, according to Technology Director Matthew Prichard said. From preschool through 8th grade New Richmond is at 1:1. At the high school, the district isn’t quite there but is close. Since some students use their own computer, however, the end result is a 1:1 situation, he said.
Chromebooks and tablets are only helpful for learning, however, if students have Internet access. This was not the case for about 122 New Richmond families. To help make certain these children could participate in remote learning opportunities, Mr. Prichard successfully applied for a BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant from Ohio. New Richmond was awarded $45,000.
Families who will receive the hotspots will be contacted soon. For more details, visit https://www.nrschools.org/protected/PrintArticle.aspx?iid=63AA2GI&dasi=4GPY0
For more information about KLICWOW, visit https://www.klicwow.com/