This year, as part of the district’s ongoing commitment to increasing access and use of technology in our classrooms, we piloted a program in which 50 of our high schools students were given a laptop computer for use in the classroom and at home. Through this “1:1 technology program,” we sought to learn how technology might enhance our academic program, as well as how access to a personal device would impact a student’s learning experience.
After observation, review, and feedback from both faculty and students who participated in the pilot, we have made the decision to expand the 1:1 technology pilot program to all sophomores in the Newton Public Schools. This means that every 10th grader (rising 9th graders) will receive a Chromebook to utilize next year. Our goals for the program are as follows:
- Encourage student collaboration
- Improve access to a wider variety of resources
- Provide additional ways of teaching creativity and critical thinking skills
- Challenge students to adapt to new learning environments
Importantly, providing every student with a Chromebook supports our district goal of equity by ensuring that every student has access to the same technology and tools both at school and at home.
While there are many excellent classroom practices that do not require technology, we expect the access to technology to foster continued innovation in teaching and learning. The district will provide our faculty and staff with ongoing professional development so that they may take full advantage of the resources available to our students via the new program.
The 1:1 technology pilot program is expected to begin with our 10th graders mid-year, allowing the district time to establish the back-end systems necessary for managing and deploying the devices. We will provide you with more detailed information this fall. In the meantime, please visit our 1:1 district webpage for a list of commonly asked questions: www.newton.k12.ma.us/laptop.
We look forward to partnering with you as we launch this exciting new initiative in our high schools.