No longer called libraries, 'iExplore Labs' teach kids internet safety at Dysart Unified schools

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
WADDELL, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Dysart Unified School District is doing away with the "old school" library concept and trying something a little more modern.

The books are staying, but students will now spend a lot more time learning how to be safe and smart online.  

While in school, students are usually asked to turn off the social media. But at Mountain View K-8, those topics are the class. 

"I always say 'Count to ten before you hit send. Really read through. What are you going to post out there?' And that's what people see you as," said instructor Roxanne Lopez. 

The district recently decided those conversations were so important they actually changed four of its schools' libraries to make sure students were learning how to be good "digital citizens."

"We're not getting rid of libraries, we're just expanding and making them more robust," said Dana Kaye, DUSD PreK-8th administrator for curriculum and assessment. 

Just don't call it a library. They're calling the re-vamped space the "iExplore Lab."

To make the change, the district eliminated its librarian positions, but hired on new iExplore lab teachers like Lopez.

"What you're putting on the internet stays with you, your digital footprint, it sticks with you through college, it sticks with you through your job interviews," said Lopez. "And as I'm teaching, the students are very quiet and listening."

Lopez says the books are still there, but so are a lot more gadgets. She also teaches students basic robotics and coding, and often takes them on virtual reality field trips using new VR headsets. 

"Yes we have books, they can absolutely cuddle up to a book and read, but I want to offer the so much more," said Lopez. 

Dysart hopes to have this curriculum in all 19 of its K-8 schools by next school year. 

"It's vital in this world, it really is," said Lopez. 

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