This year all 9th grade students were provided with a Google Chromebook as part of a new Upper School one-to-one program. A one-to-one program is when students are issued an electronic device in order to access the Internet, digital course materials, and digital textbooks. This is part of the effort to effectively meet the unique learning styles of today’s learners. The one-to-one program provides expanded educational opportunities and increased engagement and curiosity in the classroom.
The freshman students have had their Chromebooks for about three months now and it has changed the way they are being taught in the classroom. Now teachers can direct students to websites and online videos to learn about new ideas. Students also have access to helpful skill-building apps and websites. Mr. Swanson, the Freshman Bible teacher uses a website called Kahoot which allows his students to review before a test or quiz. He says that, “Using a website like this allows all of my students to participate in review games and answer questions as opposed to one student at the board while everyone watches”. Teachers have also appreciated some of the apps that allow them to collect instantaneous assessment information to make real-time instructional decisions. In the past, they would have to wait until they reviewed the homework or a quiz to know whether or not students understand the material. Also Mr. Swanson said that since all of the freshman class has laptops, it “frees up the computers in the library, computer lab, and mobile chromebook lab to be used by other grades who need access to a computer.”
Students seem to enjoy having the Chromebooks, including the sheer speed of electronic communication. Students have also appreciated that, in some cases, they don’t have to carry as many books because of online textbooks. Some say that it’s less likely that they’ll lose their papers since they’re now stored online. Matt Arnold, a freshman student, says “we use the Chromebooks at least once in each class every day, and that it’s better than carrying around a bunch of textbooks.”
Since the school was unable to give everyone a computer at once, the School Board decided to start with the current 9th graders since they had been used to using Chromebooks in the AACS Middle School. However, the one-to-one program is going to expand beyond what it is today. Upper School Principal Bob McCollum says that his hope is that “soon we’ll be able to provide all Upper School students with a Chromebook.”
Story by Donovan Clemmons, AACS Senior