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Learning Goes Virtual For Some Local Students, Southfield On 'Cutting Edge'

By Edward Cardenas

SOUTHFIELD - (CBSDetroit) Teachers and staff in Southfield Public Schools will soon receive training in new technology that will take learning online in the coming school year for many students in the district.

The professional development sessions will help prepare personnel in the Southfield Public Schools to utilize e-books, technology updates and other instructional material throughout the district when students return to the class in the fall.

"Our commitment has always been to provide the very best opportunities for our students to succeed," said Superintendent Dr. Lynda Wood in a release. "The implementation of e-books across the district will really expand students' knowledge base and encourage learning across multiple platforms."

The Southfield Board of Education recently approved spending $1.7 million on e-books and instructional materials and $1.8 million for technology upgrades for the upcoming school year.

The e-books, iPads,  Apple TVs and ceiling mounted projectors are among the items teachers will use in the classroom and will replace textbooks for middle and high school students.

According to district officials, students will have access to curriculum and additional support materials by utilizing the new e-books online through their personal mobile devices and laptops. For students who do not have smartphones, tablets or laptop computers, textbooks will be available.

"We are really on the cutting edge of this digital transition of learning," said Curriculum Director George Chapp.

Students will be able to replace traditional textbooks by accessing content online  including videos, interactive mapping modules for social studies and a proof-reading program for writing assignments.

The curriculum will be continuously updated, so you won't have the issue of outdated materials that you have in traditional texts," added Chapp in a release.

Middle and high school students will have an e-account in core area including English language arts, science, mathematics and social studies. Elementary students will have online activities, but they will not have e-books.

Chapp added that the enhancements in software, hardware and building upgrades were done without a bond by "living within our means," budgeting and saving money to pay for the projects.

"I actually enjoy having my textbooks online. It is more convenient for me to have my book at hand whenever I need to use my book or look up something," said eleventh grade student University High School Student Breanna Varner in a release. "I can easily pull out my phone and look at it. It is also fewer things that I have to walk around with throughout the day and less weight on my back."

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