Perrysburg expands laptop program PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 10:34
PERRYSBURG - Teachers and students have successfully woven individual laptops into their classroom culture, and the district is expanding its technology program after the first year.
Dubbed "1:1" after the even ratio of students to computers, the program awarded Macbook Air laptops to freshmen and Samsung Chromebooks to students in grades 5 and 8 this year.
Now, administrators are looking at new models and assigning computers to grades 6, 7 and 10. Current ninth-graders will keep their Macbooks, with new computers purchased for incoming freshmen and their Chromebooks being distributed to younger students.
The Chromebook model is being tweaked, with the district opting for a more "rugged" Lenovo, rather than this year's Samsung computers. The Lenovos offer more durability for an extra $100 per unit, said Brent Schafer, director of technology.
The new computers will cost just short of $629,000, Schafer said. The purchase is funded with money from an operating levy. Computers cost $563,600 in 2013.
At Monday's school board meeting, three teachers detailed their experiences encouraging students to use devices in class, rather than locking them down. Each reported that the 1:1 program has transformed the classroom experience and had a positive impact on student learning.
"It has been a really transformative type of experience for myself as a teacher and for the students as well," said ninth-grade instructor Chris Lake.
Lake said the program fosters communication, collaboration and creativity in the classroom of his AP government courses. It allows him to share articles and links through the district's online Schoology platform, administer quizzes in a fraction of the time and provide instant feedback, he said.
"The communication with students is pretty much instantaneous."
And when storms repeatedly canceled school this winter, Lake was able to post assignments for students to do from home.
"We were able to continue to do work while the kids were at home, supposedly enjoying a snow day," he said.
Maureen Gerber said each student having a computer has allowed her to more effectively teach French to her eighth-graders.
Before this school year, administering oral exams sometimes took the better part of three classroom days. Now, students each use their computer and a microphone to record the assignment all at once, and the process, albeit without grading, takes about 20 minutes.
Gerber said she now assigns such exercises more frequently, which makes for good practice for the year-end exam which features similar work.
"It's an absolutely wonderful addition to foreign language education," she said of the 1:1 program.
Ashley Brown, a fifth-grade math and science teacher, showed a video of students using a discussion board feature and sharing what they like about using Chromebooks in their classes.
Brown said she uses the online platform to assign problems that are explained step-by-step, and she's been impressed with how students work through problems in collaboration. They share notes and can often explain where each other made a mistake, such as during an exercise in reducing fractions that was included in the video.
"Having Chromebooks has changed the way I teach my students and has changed the way that I run my classroom," Brown said, noting that parents can access anything on the school platform, which often leads them to view class materials in order to better help their children with homework.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 April 2014 12:02

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