After five years of research, Wheaton Academy has decided to implement its 1:1 Technology Initiative beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.
“We’ve seriously considered the possible pitfalls and the cost to parents, and we have also thought through our reasons for desiring such a program,” said WA Principal Steve Bult. “We believe this reflection and research will pay off with an initiative that will not only enhance learning but will also help students to appropriately, creatively, and productively use technology.”
During the past five years, teachers have received increased technology training, and the Academy has added computers for student use. “We are now at a 3:1 student-to-device ratio,” said Bult, “and we feel we are well prepared for going 1:1.”
The cost of such a program is also much more feasible than it was just a couple of years ago. With the decreasing prices of computing devices, the Academy will be able to implement the Initiative through charging parents a yearly fee of only $200. This leasing fee covers insurance, tech support, applications, year-round use of the device, and both student and parent training.
Because of the rapid changes in technology, the Academy is waiting until the spring to announce the specific device it will be using. Regardless of the device chosen, the students will use online storage for their files and will use the device to access that storage. The device will also provide in-class access to Academy Central, the online Learning Management System implemented by WA at the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. Teachers post links, documents, and learning activities on Academy Central, and students and teachers use it as a communication tool. Teachers will also be able to track and demonstrate student learning more effectively as online assessments will be tied in directly with standardized outcomes.
“There is an efficiency that we are after,” said Bult. “No more copying, lost papers, or running to lockers for flash drives or handouts, but this is merely a side benefit. The number one reason we are implementing the 1:1 Initiative is that we desire to make learning an even more relevant experience for our students. They are living in a very technological age, and we want them to be prepared for that, not just in their ability to use technology, but to use itwell. We will provide training for this device that we hope will also impact their use of all technology, including their cell phones.
“Often student use of technology resembles the tail wagging the dog. We want our students to take control of their technology use, and we believe the 1:1 Initiative will aid us in teaching them how to do that.”