8/22/2013 3:05:00 PM NB ChromeBook pilot class eliminates paper
by DENISE MARTIN
by DENISE MARTIN A randomly chosen group of 29 North Branch Middle School students are agreeing (at least nobody has opted out yet) to be guinea pigs for a pilot learning experiment when school begins. The kids will receive Chromebooks (mini laptop computers) for exclusive personal daily learning, researching, and submitting assignments electronically.
All the usual things students do on paper this group will do digitally. Two teachers will collaborate electronically with the students and assignments will be submitted by Chromebook. The students are sixth graders-- and they bring various levels of academic prowess to the pilot program, according to Darin Marcussen, North Branch Technology Director. Marcussen said the idea was to get a cross section of students for a pilot program that realistically mimicks the actual student body.
Sixth grade science instructor Jerome Huselid and sixth grade English teacher Amy Randall were chosen to provide the classsroom hours. They are very pro-technology and enthusiastic to be in on developing this type of learning, Marcussen explained. The 29 students and their Chromebooks will be in the same room together. They’ll receive equal instructions on use of the device and similar assignments, and the district will be guaging how the technology works in day-to-day classroom and home use applications. The North Branch School Board should expect periodic updates and a final report. A parent meeting is being held August 28 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Chromebook parents have been notified and not one has called to ask that their child not participate, said Marcussen. A follow-up administrative and instructional team is assembled. They’ll be collecting parent and student feedback, looking over the test data for the group and assessing the devices for condition and usefulness overall. The Chromebooks are browser based and can’t have outside software installed, Marcussen explained. They cost about $250 each. He said the district chose Chromebooks, but the idea is to create students “adaptable” to being educated on a variety of devices and to utilize devices responsibly and creatively.