|Perrysburg students to get laptops as part of pilot program|
|Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 09 May 2013 08:29|
PERRYSBURG - Classes in the district are about to get more technical.
Next year, Perrysburg students in grades five, eight and nine will be issued laptops as part of a new "One-to-One" pilot program.
One-to-One refers to the ratio of digital devices to students.
"Several districts are working to make that transition, and we're looking at entering into that as well," said Superintendent Tom Hosler at Tuesday's school board work session.
The new initiative, which will be slowly rolled out to more grades, was instigated by upcoming changes to standardized testing mandated by the State of Ohio. Among other things, students will be required to take the tests online.
"Our teachers will be evaluated on how well students do on these standardized tests," Hosler said, and the schools themselves will receive accolades or sanctions based on the results.
Ninth-graders will be receiving MacBook Air laptops, while fifth and eighth-graders will be given Samsung Chromebooks. The 1,200 computers will cost $563,600, or 1.5 percent of the school's budget.
However, Hosler admitted that the price of the devices is about $92,000 more than originally budgeted, and administrators are looking at ways to mitigate that cost.
Having digital devices in the classroom isn't new at Perrysburg - the board has already approved a policy allowing students to use personal devices, at the discretion of teachers. Additionally, students at Frank Elementary are already piloting the use of laptops and iPads.
"We're getting a look at that kind of thing," said Hosler.
Board member Mark Schoenlein wondered "What are we going to use these for? How are these going to be integrated?" Further, he wondered how tech-savvy Perrysburg Schools staff members already are.
Hosler explained that staff development work concerning the project has already begun.
"Right now we have teachers that are making a presence online with their wikis and posting things.
"The One-to-One, having that availability, will certainly enhance that interaction."
It was also explained that 21st-century skills, such as accessing information and learning how to synthesize it independently, will be important lessons that can be learned.
"It changes the delivery system," Hosler said later. "So in an English class, there's that instant feedback."
Prior to beginning this process, district administrators visited 12 schools, including two in Nebraska, as well as schools in Defiance, Sandusky, Hicksville, Ayersville and St. John's.
There is a plan to teach students, possibly for credit, to be a "first line" of tech experts who can help service and repair the devices if something goes wrong.
"One of the challenges moving ahead is servicing those devices," said Hosler.
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