Textbooks and notebooks now have company in the backpacks of Mount Olive High School students: Chromebooks. Every student received a new Hewlett Packard Chromebook to use at home and in class during the school year.
Providing MOHS students with their own computers accomplishes several important goals. The initiative provides reliable devices to students who do not have computers or tablets of their own at home, or have inadequate, aging technology.
It also encourages more project-based learning and more individualized instruction. Since all students are now empowered to access the internet and internet-based applications outside of school, it’s easier for them to research, communicate with their teachers, and collaborate with each other. Whenever and wherever they want, students can use instructional applications such as Google Classroom – an app that allows students to see classroom assignments and announcements, submit work, and exchange notes with their teachers and one another. They can even receive and respond to real-time personal feedback since teachers can use their own Chromebooks to check student work as its being done.
“This levels the playing field and ensures that all our high school students have the same access to resources,” said Dr. Robert Zywicki, superintendent of schools. “As a district we’re also focusing on tailoring instruction to meets the unique needs of each student and technology is essential to help teachers deliver those personalized learning experiences.”
The use of computers and other instructional technology to enhance learning has long been a hallmark of the district. However, for the past year under Dr. Zywicki’s guidance, the district has made an intensive effort in all its schools to use technology even more. An essential step to do that was to boost teacher and student mastery of Google Classroom and Google’s suite of web-based productivity apps including Google Docs (word processing), Slides (presentations), and Sheets (spreadsheets). Approximately 250 faculty members trained for and received Google educator certification – an indicator of expertise in leveraging digital resources (e.g., apps, multimedia, websites) to make instruction engaging, dynamic, and individualized.
In years prior to the Chromebook distribution, most high school classrooms were equipped with computers for student use in class.