A Closer Look at One School District’s Digital Transformation

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For the past 10 years, the focus of Coppell Independent School District (ISD) has been on transforming educational practices. We have worked hard to move away from the “stand and deliver” teaching model to one in which the teachers serve as facilitators and the students take more ownership of their learning.

Coppell ISD is in a suburb of Dallas, Texas, with more that 12,300 students and just over 750 teachers spread across 16 schools. And we are a “one-to-X” district with technology.


Dr. Marilyn Denison, Coppell Independent School District.

In 2012 we began the process for one-to-one iPads in the district. All our educators received iPads first and they attended professional learning to build their knowledge and skills in using technology as a tool to design engaging learning experiences.

Then students from the fourth through the twelfth grades received iPads for their use at school, as well as for them to take home to create projects that demonstrate understanding of concepts. For our classrooms in kindergarten-through-third grade, we deployed sets of iPads that stay at school.

What takes us from a one-to-one to a one-to-X technology district is the integration of personal devices, like smart phones, laptops and tablets. Coppell ISD has put stations of computers in classrooms, but the district encourages the use of personal phones and devices and personal computers, as well.

Then a partnership developed with IBM. Over a year ago, Alex Kaplan from IBM visited our district to discuss the possibility of Coppell ISD partnering to create an app to improve, and even transform, educational processes. (They had us at transform!)

Through this transformative app we wanted to improve the daily experiences of educators by providing relevant information they need to build relationships with their students and align results to specific objectives. We desired an intuitive app that tracked the learner’s progress and provided insight into each person’s interests and learning styles.

At Coppell ISD we prefer to think “outside-of-the-box” and to create educational pathways that prepare our learners for the future.

This is the first of several blogs I plan to write for THINK. The next one will include the design and delivery of the new Watson Element App and how our district is embracing this new technology.

Coppell ISD, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

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