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Learning by laptop

Google Chromebooks sit on each desk in a classroom at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Delmar. The school paid for the computers for each sixth-grade student through a 2010 capital campaign.

Google Chromebooks sit on each desk in a classroom at St. Thomas the Apostle School in Delmar. The school paid for the computers for each sixth-grade student through a 2010 capital campaign.

“Most importantly, we administer it carefully, so we are able to see and be assured that they are staying on task and are engaged in their work,” said Kane.

If the computers have problems, Sica said Google will maintain them, and as part of the agreement with the school the online giant has promised to update the technology if a new operating system is made available.

The goal is to get students, by the spring, to take all of their notes on the personal computers.

“Our expectation is that it will translate into heightened achievement,” said Kane. “It’s not the technology itself that’s going to lead to higher achievement. It’s that the technology brings in a deeper engagement.”

School officials are convinced that this is the next wave of learning.

“This will be their world,” said Sica. “We have to prepare them for that. By the time our sixth graders are in high school, they are all going to be using one-to-one devices.”

“By the time they graduate from high school, it is very likely most of them will take a course, and the teacher won’t even be in the room,” said Kane. “It will be distance learning and it will be through video conferencing, and certainly by the time they are in the workforce, it will be such a different world for them.”

The school was able to pay for the laptops with money raised from its capital campaign in 2010. Kane said each of the computers costs $20 per month, and the school can keep them after three years of payments.

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