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Tours offer chance to see digital classrooms
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Starting next month Manteca Unified is going to schedule small group tours at various campuses to give the community a close look at how technology is changing the classroom.

The idea is to let people see how the $30 million Going Digital initiative that has put a tablet in the hands of every one of the district’s 23,500 students is transforming education for the better and helping students stay up with a rapidly changing world driven by tech.

Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer noted the groups will probably have about five people each with a district tour guide assigned. They will take place at various schools and will be designed to minimize any potential classroom disruption. The tours are expected to last two hours.

Messer said the hope is to have business people, parents, and community members that may not have children or grandchildren in school to get a better understanding of the Going Digital undertaking and its effectiveness.

Teachers have reported the devices have enhanced in-class participation during discussions. They also have enabled teachers to more quickly assess student comprehension.

The tablets allow the district to offer learning opportunities that before either would have been too cost prohibitive or cumbersome to tackle due to logistics. For example, the district can buy fairly low cost devices that attach to the tablets to turn them into microscopes. The additional devices will be rotated between classrooms and cost the fraction of a standard microscope.

“We had cases where students have missed a day of school due to illness and before the day is out they have contacted friends using the tablets to find out the assignments that were made so they won’t miss a beat,” Messer said.

The tablets have been issued to every one of the district’s 23,500 students.

The devices were all collected at the end of school in May for upgrades and maintenance. They were re-issued last week.

The district has bought additional tablets so that there is enough should a student’s device cease working for some reason they can get a replacement while district IT personnel work to correct the problem.

Details about the tours will be made available soon.