Innovating the Classroom

A new district program looks to increase technology and innovation in the classroom.


Students and teachers work with the IDS Team (via @iccsdinnovation).

Noah Bullwinkle, Reporter

In the last two years, educational technology has become widespread among the Iowa City Community school district. In between 2017 and 2018, students from seventh to twelfth grades were all provided with a personal Chromebook. The Iowa City Community School District’s Instructional Design Strategist team, or IDS, is working to streamline this increase in technology in regards to teaching.

“We try and partner with teachers to try and create a positive impact on student achievement by building reflective practices,” said Mr. Evan Hartley, a full time member on ICCSD’s IDS team and former English/Language Arts teacher at Southeast Junior High.

IDS works with teachers on an individual basis on how to improve their instruction through the implementation of innovation and technology.

“The real use of the technology is to bolster student communication or collaboration or creativity and critical thinking,” Hartley said. “For example, I’m working a math teacher across town who wants to focus on the reflection her students do after doing math and to transform it to build a metacognitive relationship with math where students are focusing more on what they’re doing solving problems.”

Nationwide, teaching through technology has been on the rise. According to a 2017 Front Row Education study, 50% of teachers utilize a one-to-one device ratio with their students.

“I feel like a lot of technology tools have allowed me as a teacher to spend more time on the aspects I feel are more important,” said Hartley. “These tools have made me more efficient as a teacher, as I’m not spending as much time in a lecture relationship treating students like sponges who absorb information.”

Students also benefit from the greater exposure to technology inside and outside the classroom.

“It’s made life better, not having to take home textbooks every day,” said Anthony Murphy ‘20.