At the start of the 2010-11 school year, Cathedral School in Raleigh issued each 5th grade student a personal laptop computer to use during class and to carry home to do homework. “Studies indicate that by the time our 5th graders reach high school, students will be required to have laptops much like what is expected now for college students,” explained Cathedral Principal Donna Moss. “Our school made this Initiative a priority as the first step in preparing our students for using these technologies in the future.”
The 1:1 Laptop Initiative, as it’s called, was showcased Thursday, February 3, during the celebration of Catholic Schools Week.
The laptop is viewed as a tool to enhance the current classroom program. Teachers have the ability to “control” each laptop while instructing the entire class from the SMART Board. The laptops provide the opportunity for the teacher to deliver dynamic lessons on curriculum content to the student.
Currently, students are using the laptops to begin development of “real time” organization and file management during their daily classroom activities. The laptop initiative teaches students to use the basics of an operating system (Windows) and software programs (Microsoft Office). In addition, students learn to interact with the lessons through the use of their SMART Notebook software. A teacher can send students files, allowing them to work math problems, enter information from a web site, or respond to a review quiz. Students now have the capability to design pieces of a project on their laptop from a variety of programs and combine the work into a presentation at home and in the classroom.
In future grades, students will have the capability to do everything on the laptop -- agendas, class work, and homework. Collaborative group projects will move beyond meeting face-to-face, and students will be able to work and merge collaborative documents from home.
Cathedral 5th grade teachers Mrs. Mundorf and Mrs. Wheeler are implementing the program in the classroom while training middle school teachers to continue the program in grades 6-8. Cathedral Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Diane McGrady, reviews online resources (learning tools, text books, etc.) and consults with the teachers on curriculum, while Director of Information and Educational Technology Kim Seder provides technology integration and technical support.
Above: Fifth grade students at Cathedral School in Raleigh working on their personal laptop computers provided by the school.