Chromebook check up

Story by: Ashley Offenbach, staff writer
Photo by: Mackenzie Carpenter, Photo Editor

chromebook

Mt. Vernon High School students received Chromebooks this year to improve the educational environment. Students are able to work on homework, schoolwork, and personal work. High school students will continue to use these throughout their high school career and in years to come.

¨We will continue to expand the number of access points in the building to minimize dead spots in the building. The biggest change will be to continue to encourage innovation and research into ways to engage students and empower students in their courses,¨ said Dr. Robbins.

¨When students and staff adapt to operating in a blended environment we should see greater examples of project based learning,” said Dr. Robbins. “Some courses are naturally designed for PBL, however, the use of technology encourages that approach across the content areas.  We hope to see greater examples of teachers not only facilitating information, but learning along with students.¨

Only the middle schoolers and high schoolers use Chromebooks, while the elementary students use iPads. When the fifth graders move on to sixth grade they will be receiving Chromebooks.

Dr. Robbins explained how the use of the laptops will start to change over the years,especially when fifth graders become sixth graders and move to the middle school. They also are used differently whether in high school, middle school, or eighth grade academy.

¨While the device will change, the operational environment such as the use of Google Tools and the EdMentum products will not change. There is some screen tapping as the touch screen is not a feature on the Chromebook. However, Dell has developed a new chromebook that does have a touch screen, so that might be a natural evolution for us as a district.¨

He continued, ¨The main difference is the use of a keyboard. Our goal with the primary grades was to introduce them to academics in a digital environment. However, we also felt that the lack of keyboarding skills would be a limiting factor; therefore the iPad was the obvious decision. As students get older and begin typing and researching at greater levels, the iPad really becomes limited. It does not operate as well in a Google environment thus limiting the collaboration capabilities.¨

Even though Mount Vernon students have only had Chromebooks for a year, they have become beneficial for successful learning at Mt. Vernon. These computers run faster and work more effectively than the older computers most teachers used to have in their classrooms.

Dr. Robbins said, ¨I am convinced the lightweight nature of Chrome OS is a big reason why most students enjoy using the Chromebook. They can do everything the students need to do with fewer problems. There are no driver issues and no software glitches to deal with. Hit the power button, sign in, and you can be productive in seconds. That is what computing should be like all the time.

¨Furthermore, there is little overhead required,” Dr. Robbins added. “In regards to the previous computers in the classroom I would simply say this…It is pretty hard to carry a desktop home, therefore the digital environment was limited to only those classrooms.¨

Mt. Vernon finally goes online

Story by: Dakota Fisher, News Editor
Photos by: Dakota Fisher, News Editor

MV goes online

To kick off the 2015-2016 school year, students have gone through the transition into the brand new 1:1 program.

Students K-5 are using Apple iPads while in school, however, they are not permitted to take them home. Middle and high school students were assigned Google Chromebooks which can be taken home.

According to new superintendent Dr. Shane Robbins,the goal of this new and revolutionary program is to “motivate, engage, and challenge students to learn 21st century skills.” Along with this new program, MVCSC has adopted the Edmentum curriculum. The Edmentum curriculum strives to provide over 8,000 school districts with an adapted 21st century learning style.

Teachers will also learn to adapt to this new learning environment and will be trained on how to effectively implement them into the classroom.

“The Chromebooks will be a great resource to have this year,” said Betsy McCleery, 10.

“I really think that they will help students learn valuable skills and how to live in the modern world.”

Technology is ever growing, so exposing young learners to the wonders of technological education from such a young age can really help aid them in the future. With the new curriculum, students will have a modern learning environment while still meeting all of the basic educational needs. Students will have a “blended” learning environment, meaning there will still be books, paper and pencils in the classroom. MVCSC does, however, intend to get rid of the textbooks entirely in the future and have a completely digital classroom.

“Research shows that students are learning more with the application of new technology that enables a greater amount of collaborative instruction, opens the doors of communication, and takes education beyond the classroom and into the community as a whole, ” said Dr. Shane Robbins

Not only can this new technology help in the traditional classroom, but also it can make the fine arts and foreign language classes more interactive by using applications like Sound Trap, which enable students to compose their own music, digitally.  

With apps like Garageband or Duolingo, students are exposed to a whole new realm of learning, making classes more entertaining, keeping students better engaged and eager to learn. Garageband is an app on the Apple store that turns your device into a  full featured recording studio giving students the ability to make their own music on the go. Duolingo is an application that helps students learn over 20 different languages including French, Spanish, and Ukrainian. Electronic learning has a huge impact on the way this generation, and generations to come, will influence society.

French teacher, Mr. Freeman, has been working this year with the new mv goes online 21:1 program by having an almost completely online class using a program called Plato. Plato is a part of the Edmentum curriculum and teaches students French using powerpoints and recorded commentary as well as conducting quizzes at the end of each lesson to check the student’s progress.

“The new 1:1 program makes things snappier. Students are far more efficient,” said MVHS Physics teacher, Mr. Everett.

In physics, students utilize this new technology in many different ways, including a flipped classroom, and having access to the online textbook, which eliminates the need for physical textbooks.

While there are many positive advantages to this new program, there have also been several complications. Students have had issues logging onto the wifi. The technology department has been working very hard around the clock to try to get this complication fixed and the new computers working well for students.

Dr. Robbins assured both students and parents that the new program will soon be running seamlessly, “As with anything new we attempt to accomplish, we will learn from our mistakes and use the knowledge to improve our practices.”

This new program not only empowers students, but it also helps prepare them for the workforce, and provides individualized learning. 1:1 helps students learn at their own pace and gives students the opportunity to take control of their education.

“I will end with this,” Dr. Robbins said. “From 1927-1941 Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted Mt. Rushmore.  A 60 foot high representation of four U.S. Presidents.  It was done utilizing tools, hard work, and creativity.  In our 1:1 computing environment, the device is only a tool that will allow for greater levels of creativity relevant in today’s society.”