Crestview pleased with success of laptop program

COLUMBIANA – As the first school year of Crestview’s laptop computer One to One Initiative comes to an end, the district has no plans to back away from making the school and its students more technologically savvy.

During a presentation before the board of education Wednesday, Daryl Miller and others – including technology staff members, teachers and students – explained what worked about putting a laptop computer in every high school student’s hands this year and what plans there are to make things even better next year.

Teachers utilized the laptops and free software to post class information, handouts and allow students to turn in assignments. As opposed to teaching a math lesson in the classroom and then sending students home with assignments to work through and possibly struggle with at home, one teacher turned the system around. The teacher video taped the lesson and posted it to the class site, assigning students to watch it before hand. Then classroom time was used for working through problems with the teacher there to provide assistance to those having difficulties.

Another teacher pointed out that with the textbook on their laptops there are no more excuses about forgetting the book or the homework at home. With the laptop there, everything is available.

The server can also be configured to take a list of students’ names in a particular class and add software or a new book automatically when the students log on in the morning. Miller said he no longer needs to handle each computer when a teacher wants something new available.

One student attending the meeting noted how amazing it is that in the past three years, the school has gone from a cart with enough laptops for one classroom to every student having access and being responsible for his or her own machine. He also commented that the laptops chosen are strong and stand up to the “ridiculous” things students do to them.

Help desks and email were established to help students and teachers with technology issues throughout the year.

In the next couple weeks all the laptops will be collected and cleaned. Miller and the staff will make certain any bugs or hardware issues are repaired. Students returning next year will receive the same laptop they had, but any documents they want saved will need to be placed on the server before the laptop is collected or it will be removed.

This summer more wireless access points will be added, more netbook carts will be added at the middle school, and the elementary will receive some tablets. Additionally, the teacher computer stations at the elementary school will be improved. Additional security cameras will be added. Some software upgrades are expected, including a new feature for Moodle, allowing students to just drag and drop assignments so teachers can easily access them.

A recently received grant will allow the school to upgrade the point of sale system in the cafeteria. Parents will even be able to pay for lunches and other school-related costs with a credit card using the new system.

Although there have been some bumps and bruises as the school transitioned to more technology, Miller noted the teachers have been flexible, and both the administration and board have been supportive through the transitions.