Educators: St. Louis laptop initiative proves successful

By By Nichole Osinski / American Press

Administrators said they are seeing

positive results after implementing a one-to-one laptop initiative at

St. Louis Catholic

High School in 2012. St. Louis President Deborah Frank said the

new technology has increased student collaboration on assignments

while creating an environment for peer instruction.

“What we’re seeing is students are actually teaching each other,” she said. “They’ve become peer teachers not only with the

practices of the laptop itself but as well as working with each other for school work.”

Frank said the initiative was started when high school graduates said they were prepared academically for college but had

not had enough technology training.

A three-phase program was launched with Fujitsu tablets. Faculty received the tablets first to begin training with the new

software and programs.

The first and second phases involved introduction of tablets to faculty and students. The school is now in the process of

phase three, which is training students in a computer architecture class where any warranty repair work is done on campus.

Director of Development Susan Percle

said while bringing laptops into everyday class activities has increased

understanding

it has also benefitted teaching methods. She said more multimedia

projects have been introduced and assignments can be done

efficiently online.

“It just gives an extension to the classroom,” said Percle. “It incorporates the technology into each lesson and it gives

the kids hands-on experience every single moment during the day.”

The laptops have also provided new

research opportunities for professors at the Burton College of Education

at McNeese State

University. The team includes Dr. Dustin Hebert, assistant

professor of education professions, Dr. Brett Welch, associate

professor of education professions, Dr. Jan Broussard, assistant

professor of education professions, and Dr. Sharon VanMetre,

professor of education professions.

The researchers have visited for two

class periods each week since the beginning of the 2012/2013 school

year. Herbert said

they look at how the laptops are used and the progress that is

made. At the end of the 2013/2014 school year they will present

their data to the school and gauge whether or not the

technological benchmarks were met.

Hebert said several faculty members completely changed the way their class was conducted and jumped right in by using the

new computer programs.

“I was surprised that there were folks who had taken that leap of faith that early on in the school year,” he said. “They

seem to be satisfied with the experiences they’re able to provide their students.”

Teachers and students are now

incorporating systems such as DyKnow — a classroom management system in

which teachers can broadcast

whatever is on their screens to the students’ laptops to increase

interaction. They are also using the annotation application

OneNote, which can take saved projects and file them into one.

Teachers are able to provide the same material digitally, while

also enabling students to make notations.

“The teachers are creating learning

experiences for the students that would not otherwise be possible

without technology,”

Hebert said. “They’re doing a very nice job in pushing themselves

to try these tools and see what kinds of innovative experiences

they can create for the students.”