Students transition to laptop learning

Coursework is just a click away for eighth-graders at Port Clinton Middle School
Sandusky Register Staff
Oct 11, 2013

 

Never again can an eighth-grader at Port Clinton Middle School dodge a homework assignment.

“Students can no longer make the excuse, ‘I forgot my homework at home,’” said Jan Gluth, director of student, staff and community development at Port Clinton Schools. “It’s all right there for them.”

Each of the 139 eighth-graders in Port Clinton Schools have received a Samsung Chromebook that they’ll be responsible for over the next five years. Each student kicked in $50 for the laptop, which covered a small portion of the total cost.

The program, dubbed “One to World,” should help students develop practical computer skills, as well as providing them easy online access to their coursework and other materials.

“It is completely transforming how our school operates,” said Carrie Sanchez, the school’s principal. “We are preparing kids for the 21st century.”

The district’s teachers have been planning for the program for a full year, so it’s not as if they’re simply improvising as the year progresses.

“We have teachers who have been here two years, and we have a teacher who’s been here 33 years,” Sanchez said. “They’ve all put in the necessary planning to make this a smooth transition.”

It cost about $45,000 to roll out the program this year, although Sanchez said the school cut costs elsewhere to compensate for the expense.

“We’ve been able to offset costs by not purchasing as many textbooks,” she said. “We also no longer have large maintenance expenses that we’ve had in the past.”

The program aims to alter the way students learn and keep up with their homework. Still, classroom learning isn’t about to become 100 percent digital, Sanchez said.

“There are times during the day when it’s more effective to put the Chromebooks away,” she said.

Port Clinton Middle School science teacher Jeff DeBlase is one of the instructors trying to effectively balance traditional learning with digital opportunities.

“The ratio of computer-based teaching to traditional teaching varies from teacher to teacher,” DeBlase said. “But for the most part, students enjoy typing over writing in their notebooks, so I try keep that in mind.”

There’s been no negative feedback from parents or the public thus far.

Sanchez said the school’s staff recognize the challenges of providing students with Internet access.

“We can’t combat inappropriate usage of the laptops any more than we can combat inappropriate conversations at the lunch table,” she said. “The best we can do is clearly define expectations of how the students should use (the laptops).”

Comments

Stop It

Yeah? When I was in college instead of 'the dog ate my homework' excuse, they used the 'I saved it but it's gone' excuse. Make students put homework in three places. Typically, on the hard drive in a folder, on their school e-mail acct., and also on a thumb drive. There is no excuse for not having back-ups.

fifteenthgreen

Any of your district leaders want to call us over here across the bridge at Perkins and explain how this program should be administered/financed before our phones get turned off!!!

booster

When Perkins started with laptops, Chromebooks had not been invented. These Chromebooks are not as robust and capable as the Perkins Apple laptops but they are more than sufficient to meet the needs of the students. At full retail, you can buy a Chromebok for as low as $199. Upgraded model for $249-$299. Factor in quantity discounts and they seem like a wise buy.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Do I sound like an old curmudgeon if I lament the decline in handwriting and especially cursive? Things like this really pull me in two directions because I very much advocate tech use and know-how, but I am doing so from the standpoint that I can still pen a document quickly and legibly (well, I guess that's in the eye of the reader) in cursive.

fifteenthgreen

Agree! Do they even teach cursive any longer? I heard it was eliminated from most curriculum guides.

eriemom

You know, I think I heard that as well. So....
We will have Americans who can't read founding documents-Constitution, Bill of Right,ect,.

Can you see them in Washington explaining to their own kids that these documents were written in a different language.

fifteenthgreen

Never looked at it that way, eriemom which makes it sound even scarier. Sad. I'm all for taking a few steps backwards in life!

Tsu Dho Nimh

Handwriting (cursive) is not part of the state standards for education so many districts are no longer teaching it.

Stop It

That's all fine and dandy as long as you don't work in construction and skilled trades. All blueprints and directions are written in caps and print. We don't have time to figure out someone's cursive. Some of the hand drawn stuff on a napkin is hard enough.

If you want calligraphy, go to art school or choose a job that deals with literacy. It has no place in skilled trades, anymore.

fifteenthgreen

That's what we need more of. Skilled trade and construction. Don't care how the bp and directions are printed at that point as long as it's being printed in this area.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

That's understandable for the example you provided. What are your feelings on converting to the metric system finally?