Part 5 of 5: The future of technology; expectations for the next few years
“Books still have their place — they will always have their place,” said Lincoln Jr. High School principal Dan Funston.
However, after going to computers for every student this year, area schools say that they expect to keep up with ever-changing technology.
Schools have a three or four-year lease with Apple, after which they can choose to keep the computers they have — or go with a new technology.
“I see us continuing to stay current and teach the kids these skills,” said Funston. “We are going to remain at the front of teaching our kids technology skills.”
“Teaching is changing,” agreed Culver Community High School principal Albert Hanselman. “Education is about students taking responsibility for their own learning. This is at their disposal — they can learn whatever they want to right away, rather than going through a book and not finding anything.”
“It’s the new trend in education,” said Culver Community Middle School principal Julie Berndt. “So many jobs are using technology.”
Funston said that Lincoln Jr. High staff, now in their second year of one-to-one, are finding it much easier to work with their computers in the classroom.
“This year compared to last year is like night and day,” said Funston.
He said that the staff is more comfortable with the computers and learning flexibility.
Plymouth High School student Daniel Johnson, a junior, said he believes the problems will go away once everyone learns how to work with their computers.
“Most of our issues are user-related,” agreed Plymouth media literacy director Ben Waymouth. “It’s usually centered on software and how to do specific types of things.”
LaVille principal Chuck Phillips said that the school plans to keep an eye on changing technology to determine whether they will stay with Apple or switch at the end of their lease term.
Teachers will also continue to learn new ways to present information using the Internet and applications, said Phillips.
“We’re excited about (one-to-one),” said Hanselman. “We’re going to learn as we go and we’re all going to learn together.”
If you are reading this article and thinking, “Wow, this computer initiative sounds great, but my student goes to Triton/Argos/Bremen/John Glenn” — there is good news. Argos and Bremen plan to go to one-to-one in the next few years, while Triton Jr./Sr. High School principal Michael Chobanov and John Glenn principal William Morton said that they are considering it.
“We are working on our infrastructure to make sure we can handle it,” said Chobanov. “We’re looking at everything but right now we are trying to support what we have.”
Morton said that his staff is in collaboration with the technology department at John Glenn to figure out how one-to-one might work at the school. Morton added that some classes at John Glenn — science, Spanish, and some math — are taught entirely online. Students use computers at the school for these classes.
Bremen principal Bruce Jennings said planning is underway to introduce computers for every student soon.
“We’re researching right now,” said Jennings. “My department heads are researching how they will use (computers) in the classroom.”
He added that Bremen hopes to be doing one-to-one in the 2011-2012 school year.
“We’re watching Plymouth, we’re watching LaVille,” he said. “We need to make sure it’s not a hurdle to learning (but) it’s enhancing learning.”
Argos principal Jennifer Lucht said that their goal is to start computers for every student in two years.
“We are going to start with the middle school,” said Lucht.
Each year, the new sixth graders will get a laptop which they will take with them through the rest of their high school career.
Lucht said that unlike other schools, Argos will not use Apple devices, but will instead go with a regular laptop.