Adams Elementary was among the rest in the Oklahoma City Public School District to pilot myON during school year 2015–16. Although they got a late start, and devices were in short supply, students and staff achieved the main objective Principal Heather Zacarias had established for them— getting started!
“When we understood that myON would provide unlimited access to literature based on student interest and levels, we wanted to be on board,” Zacarias explained. “Our goal was to get every student logged into myON, then test the water. We needed to determine if students wanted access to myON and how excited they were about it.” The response was a clear “YES” to both, evidenced by data and her interviews with students who spent the most time reading on the platform.
By the end of the school year, the 650 predominantly Hispanic PK-6 students in this industrial community—where 100% of students receive free breakfast and lunch—had collectively read more than one million minutes on a combination of print books and myON digital texts. With access only in the computer lab and on the one or two desktop computers in each classroom, teachers used every free moment during the school day to get their students online.
The upcoming school year will open a new chapter as teachers begin integrating myON into Project Based Learning and access to devices improves. Bolstered by a recent $65,000 grant from the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust that provides funds for needed equipment and professional development centered around 21st century teaching and learning, iPad minis and Chromebooks will be widely available to students.
With guidance from Zacarias, curriculum development materials from the Buck Institute for Education and resources within myON, teachers are building immersive units on citizenship for every grade level, which they’ll launch as part of a larger “going global” year-long theme. It’s designed to create connections to the world around them for students and to underscore an important principle.
“Although our students are sitting in a high-poverty, high minority school, not only do they have access to information around the world, they have the power to make change within their own community, and on a global perspective,” said Zacarias.