Springfield Public Schools ‘IGNiTE’ Culture of Innovation Through 1:1 Initiative

Going 1:1 with mobile devices is no small feat for an individual classroom or school. Expand the initiative across an entire district, and logistical nightmares abound: infrastructure, maintenance, training, storage, security. The list goes on.

So when the largest school system in Missouri introduced its district-wide 1:1 device plan, skepticism could have taken root. Instead, the Springfield Public Schools community united behind a common cause: providing the resources and support necessary for all teachers and students to experience an engaging, relevant and personalized learning environment.

Little things make big things happen.

 IGNiTE (Inspire. Grow. Network. Integrate. Transform. Engage.) is a sprawling movement designed to outfit Springfield Public Schools’ 25,000 students and 2,200 certified teaching staff with tablets or laptops. It encompasses network development, waves of device deployments, hours of training, help and service desks, and daily technology repairs. All of these big-ticket items are vital to the program’s success but so, too, are the often-overlooked details associated with 1:1 initiatives.

Take headphones, for example.

“It became evident during the first pilot that we needed better headphones,” said Bruce Douglas, director of information technology at Springfield Public Schools. “Students need high-quality headphones, so teachers can manage classroom noise and be sure students are able to fully engage with technology.”

Until Springfield Public Schools went 1:1, the district relied on a disposable headphone model. The headphones weren’t essential to teaching and learning, so they could be used, discarded and replaced regularly. With IGNiTE, headphones became a centerpiece of students’ experience at school. Douglas and his staff decided to upgrade. They purchased 13,000 sets of AVID’s AE-35 headphones for K-5 classrooms.


“There are so many audio components to modern instruction,” Douglas said. “Teachers are providing feedback to students through video. Online programs include listening activities. Assessments have audio portions. There’s more multimedia instructional content than ever before. Students need to be able to plug into their devices and have a reliable listening experience.”

Because students use the headphones frequently throughout the day, durability was important to Douglas and Nichole Lemmon, head of blended learning at the district.

“The nylon, braided cord on the AE-35 headphones was one of the reasons we liked the product,” Douglas said. “They’re durable and able to withstand wear and tear. The difference, compared to disposable headphones, is night and day.”

Since schools are hotbeds for bacteria and students share equipment, Douglas and Lemmon needed headphones that could be easily sanitized. “It’s simple for teachers to clean the AE-35s and minimize the spread of germs,” Douglas said. “That’s important.”

Putting it all together.

 Classrooms at Springfield Public Schools look different than they did just three years ago. Students are engaged in project-based learning, working in different modalities, and engaging with technology and instructional content in new ways. Whether they’re using adaptive online software, reviewing video feedback from teachers or practicing listening skills, students are often plugged into technology through AE-35 headphones. It’s IGNiTE in action.

“Learning can be messy, loud and chaotic,” Douglas said. “We’re embracing that. IGNiTE helps our teachers personalize learning experiences for their students. They can have groups of students working on different projects throughout the classroom. And when students need to focus on lessons delivered through their devices, they can grab headphones and block out distractions.”

This is the culture of innovation and change Springfield Public Schools envisioned.

Contact your DSC Account Manager to learn more about AVID Headphones.

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