A one-to-one computer policy was adopted for this school year. Students were either assigned to a school Chromebook or could bring a computer from home.
Chromebooks were individually assigned to students during Back-to-School check in for those who wished to use a school Chromebook.
The policy is intended to help prepare students for college and career settings, as well as provide equal technological opportunities for students outside of school, Dr. Matt Irvin, principal, said.
“We think for students to be fully prepared to get into college and careers, those are important tools to be able to utilize in every setting after they go to after high school. It’s an important step to their learning now, and an important preparation for what’s around the corner,” Irvin said.
Teachers said the policy would help them by allowing more assignments to be available online.
“I’m going to have all students who have to turn in homework turn it in on Canvas,” math teacher Elizabeth Steckman said, adding, “I will keep using Desmos this year as a graphing calculator tool for students, as a way for them to do math and check answers.”
English teacher Sarah Gray said she intended to use the policy to assist students with the writing process.
“I want to sort of explore working with students as they’re drafting papers. If I use the correct settings on Canvas, I can view what they’re viewing, and that can help with going through and revising and drafting,” Gray said.
While teachers sometimes ask students to use phones for educational purposes, such as joining Kahoots or taking photos of homework, Gray said another benefit she saw in the policy was preventing in-class phone use.
“If we have the laptops, there is absolutely not a need for phones,” Gray said.
Gray added it would make it easier for the school or district to implement a stricter cell-phone policy overall.
Irvin said there were no current plans to change the school cell phone policy, saying, “I think we kind of have to learn from our usage, and ultimately the goal is to promote learning and whatever that looks like, we’ll see how that goes.”
Students expressed mixed opinions about one to one Chromebooks.
Some, like senior Rose Mossinghoff, were excited, stating it would help them stay organized.
“It’s nice to have more things online because it’s less physical things to keep track of,” Mossinghoff said.
Others said they didn’t see the policy benefiting them.
“I just like using notebooks more because it helps me remember it better than just typing it on a computer,” senior Ella Beck said.
Overall, Irvin said the main benefit of the policy was ensuring all students had the same ability to do work outside of school.
“Putting a device into everyone’s hands allows our teachers to most effectively provide instruction both in the classroom and with what’s happening on the other side, when students leave school, and utilize all the technology that our learning management system, Canvas, allows them to have,” Irvin said.
“That levels the playing field for everybody… I think that’s great,” Steckman said.
Irvin added that additional devices for students without internet access at home were available.
As well as Chromebooks for students, laptops were provided for English teachers. Newline Boards, an interactive teaching board similar to Smart Boards, were also provided for some teachers.
“It’s based on what instructional needs the teachers have. We’re trying to move away from a one size fits all and more towards what teachers might need,” Irvin said.
“[Going one to one has] been a goal for many years,” Irvin said. He explained that during the pandemic, making sure every student had access to a computer and the internet was a struggle.
“During those circumstances, we were trying to fill those needs with limited devices,” Irvin said.
The process to adopt the policy started with assigning one-to-one Chromebooks last year, for the 2022-2023 school year. This year, funds from ESSER — Elementary and Secondary School Relief funds– were used to provide all other students with chromebooks, “filling in the gaps,” Irvin said.
Parents and guardians were required to fill out permission slips and acceptable use forms during online registration this year. Students who elected to use school chromebooks were also required to pay a $25 insurance fee.
As for how the policy has been going so far, Irvin said, “I think we’ve been seeing teachers being thoughtful about their utilization…I feel like we’re getting pretty close to filling all the gaps– that’s the hard part, making sure every student has a device. We’re still working with that and as we’re getting new students, we want to make sure we’re supporting them as well.”
This will be Hadley Hoskins’ second year on Echo staff.