Middle School starts 1:1 program
With the beginning of the new school year less than a week away, workers at Washington Middle School have been setting up the equipment that will allow students to use Google Chromebooks to enhance classroom instruction.
In the media center, 440 of the micro laptop computers are being prepared for the students. While the program is an extension of the high school’s 1:1 program, para-educator and tech coordinator Beth Moravec said that the students wouldn’t be allowed to take the computers home with them. She said the students would check out the computers at the beginning of every day and check them back in at the end of the day for charging during non-school hours.
“It is a very exciting time here at the middle school,” she said. “The students will receive a Chromebook, which is basically a gateway to the Internet.”
The program was created at a cost of $180,000, of which the school district got a $60,000 grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation. Moravec said that education is becoming more technology based and the Washington district hopes to keep its students up to date on the existing technology.
Moravec said that the Internet contains many resources that can be used to aid in the education of students. She said the resources used would go along with the subject being taught in the classrooms. The servers in the school filter out sites that aren’t deemed appropriate for children or for use in an educational setting. The program was mirrored from other middle schools, which already have the program in effect, Moravec said. She said that the program is still a work in progress and if there is a situation, such as a student having to be absent for medical reasons for an extended period, the school may be able to allow the student to use the computer at home.
Students will be given an orientation on the first day of school on the care and use of the Chromebooks. Teachers will also teach how to use the books during class.
While students won’t be able to take the computers home, if they have a computer at home they will be able to access their work. Moravec said that the students’ work will be saved online.
Moravec also said that some discussion is being given to downloading e-books onto the computers as a cost savings instead of having physical textbooks. No decision has been reached on that.