Drop into any classroom, it seems, on the middle school campus and you are bound to see many students hard at work using their school-issued laptops.
This is year two for all the grades to be using laptops, said Dan Hudkins, director of instructional technology for K-Gr. 12, and everything is going quite well. “It’s a reasonably mature program and we continue to explore additional options and ways for laptops to be used as learning tools.’’
Harker sixth grader Gurutam Thockchom said it has been a smooth, successful launch since sixth graders just received their laptops in early November. Students in seventh and eighth grades start the school year with theirs. “It is better using a laptop because it is easier to write, keep track of things and not have to carry around so many papers,’’ Thockchom said, as he worked on his laptop during a study hall session.
Angela Neff, the assistant instructional technology director for the middle school, said things have gone great so far with the 153 members of the sixth grade class.
Gr. 6 teachers, across all curricula, have found a multitude of projects and uses for students on computers, including creating PowerPoint presentations in Environmental Studies; writing essays, doing research and vocabulary exercises in English classes; having access to a variety of resources on Athena (handouts, Web links, study guides) and taking quizzes and tests. In a few months, students will work on collaborative projects in history, write and research speeches for their public speaking courses and do warm-up problems and short activities in Pre-Algebra Honors. In Spanish classes, students record themselves speaking and take online quizzes; in music class, the students are taking notes on different musical historical periods; and in health class, students have used the laptops to visit MyPryamid.gov to learn about the new food pyramid and proper eating habits — just in time for the New Year!