Technology gains momentum in 1:1 goal

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Jamie Kim news editor

In addition to the 400 laptops purchased last year, more laptops and other technological gadgets are being ordered to modernize of the school.

Paralleling the district’s initiative to have a 1:1 ratio of students to personal electronic devices, such as iPads and laptops, the high school’s plan has gained momentum in achieving the goal for all of its students. With the help of the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), the district, and the yearly budget, more technology will be entering students’ daily school lives.

Principal David Jackson accredited a large part of the improvements in technology to last year’s purchases.

“We [got the laptop carts] in two different facets last year. One, our PTSA was gracious enough to buy us about 200 laptops, computers and everything that was needed. They did that because your parents- thank you very much- joined the PTSA and have given money to the PTSA. The PTSA asked us what we needed, and we got about 200 laptops from them. The second part of it was through my budget and everything else last year. We moved some money around and the district was kind enough to go ahead and purchase another 200 laptops with carts,” Jackson said.

PTSA co-presidents Jodi Galen and Laurie Okum said that through donations from generous families, the PTSA was able to purchase about 200 laptops, as computers have been the focus on the school’s wish-list for the past two years.

Furthermore, this year, the PTSA has helped the school purchase an additional 240 laptops, nearly $97,000 in worth.

“Again, depending on how much money is donated to the PTSA or if I could just find some really nice donor that would like to give me about a quarter-million dollars, I could probably go ahead and we could be 1:1,” Jackson said.

Dr. Steven Rubenstein, AP literature teacher and technology Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), said that by January, the class of 2018 will have a 1:1 ratio for laptops. However, he stressed the importance of training teachers on how to use the new technology.

“What we need to do is figure out how teachers can best use those laptops in their diverse classes because a teacher who’s teaching math is going to use the laptop differently than a teacher in English than a teacher in social studies than a teacher in foreign language. What we’re looking to do is individualize the training so that teachers can understand how they might be able to use those devices in the classroom,” Rubenstein said.

Jackson believes that the increase in the use of laptops has had beneficial impacts on the students.

“We have two or three other computer labs, which is very important because all of the SBAC testing is done on a computer; we need all of our students to feel comfortable. I think that helped get our scores up last year,” Jackson said. “Plus, the district, under Dr. Tedford, has done professional development the last three years with our teachers. With her leadership, our teachers grasping it and knowing it’s important and getting it to our kids, and our kids knowing it’s important, everybody melded together last year, so it was wonderful.”

Many teachers have also enjoyed the efficiency of having laptops directly in their rooms.

“In my own classroom, I’ve seen amazing things happen with technology. For one thing, giving students feedback and getting feedback are delivered to them so much easily that my students quick write in class and immediately, read each others’ quick writes and get feedback on those,” Rubenstein said. “They take all their tests in my class online; they get immediate feedback on that. I grade everything online. Most of my seniors turn it in as Juno docs; I grade right on the Juno doc, and can very quickly get them a response to writing. That in itself is enormously helpful to students.”

In addition, students are seeing the benefits of more laptops throughout the classrooms.

“I feel like it is very useful to have laptop carts in the classrooms. In my architecture class, it is very beneficial to see the plot plan on the computer compared to having to draw them. This really shows us what the plot plans really look like,” junior Brandon Wolfe said.

However, laptops are not the only technological improvements the school is making. Jackson announced that he had just purchased iPads for the special education program and newer laptops for some teachers. He even holds further plans for the school.

“We bought printers for classrooms. I just okayed the purchase of a color printer, that the PTSA, thanks again, is purchasing for the library. So, we are definitely moving on, and with the construction, when the new part of the building opens up, it will have wifi, so we won’t have the problems we’re having now,” Jackson said.

Jackson stressed the importance of having technology in the classrooms, especially as other schools across the nation are progressing as well.

“I think everybody understands that if we’re going to have our students, who I love dearly, compete in this global world, we need to provide them with the appropriate technology,” Jackson said.

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