Impressed with the Microsoft technology network being utilized at the Tuckahoe School District, a delegation of 21 South Korean school officials visited the school on Tuesday, September 30, researching the best ways to implement the technology back home.
For the past two years, Tuckahoe students have been using Microsoft Surface Pro tablets in the classroom and at home in an effort to give students a more interactive education. While many schools on Long Island are moving toward similar programs, officials at Microsoft say Tuckahoe is ahead of the curve and a successful model for other districts to mimic.
This week the South Korean officials, who represented several school districts and education departments from multiple provinces, came to New York as guests of Microsoft to attend a technology conference in Manhattan. While here, the delegation asked to visit schools already using the technology, and Microsoft took them to two New York Schools, Somers Middle School in Somers, New York, and Tuckahoe.
“We often have delegations from around the world wanting to look at innovative schools,” strategies account manager for Microsoft Pratik Chanda said this week. “They are looking to see how schools in the United States are adopting technology to enhance education—how they use these products beyond just the technology benefits, but how they use these programs to further their education.”
The tablets were introduced in the district in February 2013 after more than a year of planning and negotiating with Microsoft. In total, the district has 176 devices, including 75 Microsoft Surface Pros, 3 Surface Pro IIs and 85 Microsoft Pro IIIs. The devices are distributed among all of the students and staff, with younger students using LeapPads and older students getting the more advanced tablets.
The devices include touch screens and offer the option to use a pen to write. Information can be shared between devices and smart boards in the classroom, as well as to communicate within the district’s network.
School officials said they decided to purchase tablets instead of new desktops in order to keep up with the New York State Education Department’s new requirement that all students must take state tests, such as Regents tests, digitally by the 2014-15 school year.
During their visit to the district, the South Korean officials were taken into the classrooms to see how the students utilized the tablets on a daily basis and to ask teachers how they took advantage of the equipment. They were then taken to the library for a brief presentation from Tuckahoe technology education teacher David Dileo and school network and technology director Charles Dwyer before a brief question-and-answer session.
“They are here for the opportunity to see our kids working with the one-on-one network we provide,” District Superintendent Chris Dyer said. “What they are really looking for is how to transition to a similar network, what are some of the things we considered when we transitioned and what were some of the problems we had? Lessons learned? This is a very smart, concerned and thoughtful group of people concerned with getting this right for their kids the first time.”