1:1 program to expand
The Washington Community School District is looking toward the future when it comes to the 1:1 program for the schools.
According to Superintendent Dr. Mike Jorgensen, the idea of having the 1:1 program expand to the middle school is being discussed. Everything from funding, to whether or not middle school students should be able to take their computer home, will be discussed.
“We are looking into next year for planning for that,” Jorgensen said. “We’re tentatively looking to do that in the 2014-2015 school year.”
Jorgensen thinks the success of the 1:1 program at the high school is why there is discussion about the program expanding the middle school.
“It has been a success,” he said. “We’re still working through some things. Right now there is a 20 percent rate of damage to the computers but that has been consistent with what the other schools have shown.”
Washington High School Principal Eric Buchholz also agrees with Jorgensen about the success of the 1:1 program.
“The students have been great,” Buchholz said.
Part of the 1:1 program includes a student technology team that assists teacher librarian and 1:1 coordinator, Joan Hippen, with questions from changing passwords to why their computers won’t print. The students also get course credit.
“The faculty is thrilled with it,” Buchholz said. “The students do it in a way that they don’t make you feel dumb.”
Junior Jacob Miles likes to be there for his peers and teachers.
“They are supposed to come to us first,” Miles said. “And then we try to help them out.”
The student technology team also has access to the high school’s Web site and update it.
“The team is really instrumental in keeping the Web site up to date,” Hippen said. “Technology is here to stay and we’re giving our kids this feature with the 1:1 program.”
Hippen has also noticed a difference in the way teachers teach at the high school.
“If you need to find a date for something it is easily found by Googling it,” Hippen said. “Students can record their voice for Spanish class with their computer and turn it in to their teacher versus the traditional task of the pen and pencil.”
Hippen knows the program isn’t without its kinks.
“It’s definitely worth it but there are some challenges,” she said. “We want the kids to take responsibility for them. We’re getting them to understand that.”
Students and parents both had to read and review the school district’s Student Laptop Acknowledgment Form before receiving their computer at the beginning of the year.
“Parents can decide if they want their student to bring the laptop home or they can just come in and check out a laptop with me,” Hippen said. “This is not a binding thing. Sometimes parents will change their mind about the student bringing the laptop home if the student’s grades fall.”
Another part to the 1:1 program is the training the faculty receives.
“The teachers did two full days’ training from Apple,” Hippen said. “Grant Wood Area Education Association came and did training and we have had in-house training as well. Everyone is really helpful and learning.”
Next year Hippen would like to be able to go into the classrooms more to assist with questions and Buchholz would like to see teachers receive an iPad to be able to interact more in the classroom.