HHS Push for 1-1 Initiative Continues

Kayla Sullivan

Photo: Push for 1-1 Initiative Continues
Assistant Principal Mr. Ashoke Ghosh has played a large role in the school’s mission to execute a 1-1 Initiative program. Photo by Kayla Sullivan

This article is part three of a three-part series on online education at HHS (Read part one  and part two).

By Kayla Sullivan
Next year, it is expected that every student in Hopkinton High School will have a laptop through the 1-1 Initiative program.

According to a document released to parents from Technology Director Kathy Dooley, the goal of this program is “To increase student achievement and engagement in a 21st century teaching and learning environment where every student has a laptop to use at school and at home”.

“Dr. Phelan [previous Superintendent of Schools] wanted to start a 1-1 program approximately five years ago,” explained HHS Assistant Principal Mr. Ashoke Ghosh, who has also been involved in the program.

According to Ghosh, “Ms. Geary has worked with Dr. Phelan and Kathy Dooley over the past five years to gain support for the program and build up the building’s infrastructure to support the program.”

The program is expected to be launched this summer in anticipation of the 2012-2013 school year.  “The initial plan is to provide students and parents training this summer and next fall to help prepare them for the program and help get them acclimated to their new machines,” explained Ghosh.

If a parent wishes for their child to participate in the 1-1 Initiative program, they will have the option of leasing a MacBook laptop from the school.  According to HHS Principal Ms. Alyson Geary, the exact cost has not yet been finalized, but it is estimated to be about $275 a year.

The laptop would come with academic software, an operating system, insurance, a three-year warranty with fourth year added service, and maintenance.

“[HHS Tech Support] would take care of the software and the updates, and making sure that the computer worked well, and if it didn’t [they] would fix it,” explained Principal Geary.

Geary also explained that there are two other ways students could participate.  “The second way students could bring their own [laptop], but we would not be able to support that laptop, so the student is going to have to know what they’re doing on their laptop,” she stated, “We’re allowing that this year because we want to get the program started”.

As for the third method, the school would have computers available for students to use during the school day, and possibly checkout overnight if needed.

There are, however, some conditions that must be met in order for the program to work.  “We are waiting on final approval from the School Committee, and still have to determine if 80% of the incoming ninth grade class is willing to participate by either leasing a machine from the school or bringing their own from home,” stated Ghosh.

This is because the school only has enough money in the budge to provide 30-40 machines to students who choose the third option.  “Since we need to provide an equitable learning environment for all students, we have to ensure each student equal access to a device,” Ghosh explained.

Currently, the school is waiting on the results of possible bids placed by Macbook vendors.  “[When the bid closes within the next few days] we’ll see what vendors have actually responded with a quote for the price of the laptops.  If someone has responded, then we have to take those numbers and see if they make sense,” explained Mr. Ghosh.

If a bid offer is accepted by the school, they will move forward with the program by sending out lease documents to the parents, according to Ghosh.

There is still a possibility, however, that the school will be unable to accept a reasonable bid, and the program may have to be put on hold for another year.

Regardless of whether the 1-1 Initiative is launched this year, it is clear how much the school values its potential contribution to their growing online education program.

“The idea is that if I walk into a freshman English class, every kid has some sort of a device, hopefully a laptop, that they can use if the whole class is doing an assignment.  And the power of that is, if everyone has one, and the teacher knows they’re going to have one, then they can plan an activity or assignment around using that technology,” stated Geary.

HHS currently offers a wide variety of online courses and utilizes Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment), a type of Virtual Learning Environment, as an online component to many of its face-to-face or hybrid (part face-to-face, part online) courses; therefore, the laptops would be an effective resource to HHS students to complete this type of coursework.  Also, according to Principal Geary, many assessments will become online in the future.

“I think within five years, the majority of high schools will have laptop programs like this because it’s just becoming more and more essential to have a laptop in class, but right now we’re still in the phase where [only] some schools are doing it, so it has been kind of a challenge,” stated Geary.

Information regarding this program can be found at the 1-1 Initiative website.

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