MHS Student Learning

There’s a shift in conversation in Mason City Schools. The district is reinvesting some of the savings it has realized through cost reductions and doing business differently into supporting teachers with the necessary resources and skills to create learning environments for today’s --andtomorrow’s-- learners.
On December 16, Jonathan Cooper, Mason City Schools Innovative Learning Officer, gave an update to the Board of Education. 
Watch the Innovative Learning video.
“We’re now closer than ever to providing the real world to our students. I think of the outside world as history happening. You can no longer look to the outside world as the only model of how the ‘real world works’ because by the time many of our kids arrive in the ‘real world’ it will be a very different world than it is today,” explained Cooper. “We serve a very plugged in and engaged population. School needs to have the same natural integration of technology that our kids experience at home.”
Like many school districts, Mason used to address technology and curriculum instruction separately – with tech specials and isolated technology instruction. Today, however, the district is moving to embed technology so that the tech tool a teacher selects is simply a choice to enhance, enrich, and extend the learning experience.
“From here, we’re moving more into technology integration – this is messy, where we have many more devices and pioneers who are trying and piloting new ways of teaching. But our goal is to find the right platform, device and experience with the technology embedded in to allow us to meet students where they are for personalized learning,” said Cooper.
Google Apps for Education
The district is taking a three-prong approach to its tech integration plan: examining pedagogy, platform and devices. This year, the district is piloting Google Apps for Education - a cloud-based solution to allow students and staff to be in the same learning space at the same time. In fact, Mason Middle School will be all “Google” second semester, and there are Google Learning Teams of educators in each school. The Google platform does not require a specific device to work well – so all personalized devices are able to effectively work in this collaborative space.
Ensuring that teachers and students have access to devices like Chromebooks and iPads is another important part of the district’s plan. By 2017-2018, the district hopes to have a 1:1 computing environment.
“Our team is working creatively to architect a clear sustainable three year plan to move from a 1:4, 1:2 then to a 1:1 environment - allowing more opportunities for personalized learning. This will also mean we need to continue to develop and invest in our infrastructure to support classroom learning,” said Cooper.
Powerful Partners
Supporters like the Mason Schools Foundation and the Mason Early Childhood Center PTO, Western Row PTO and Mason Intermediate PTO have been instrumental partners as the district reinvests energy, time, and resources into creating learning experiences that support staff and students.
“It has been so exciting coming to a community that is ready to grow and create an innovative learning culture for our students. There is a strong foundation to build upon toward personalized learning in the 21st century. We are about to enter into one of the most exciting times in the history of Mason City Schools,” said Cooper.