SGS 5th Graders To Get Take-Home Computers By March

Edward Ward, the district’s instructional technology supervisor, told the Board of Education that Sampson G. Smith School 5th Graders should be taking their school computers home by the end of March, heralding the beginning of a district-wide program

Heralding the start of what officials hope will be a district-wide program, Sampson G. Smith School 5th Graders should be taking home their school computers by the end of March.

By the 2017-18 school year, all SGS students will be taking home their laptop computers, if all goes as planned.

That was the prediction from Edward Ward, the school district’s supervisor of instructional technology, at the Board of Education’s Jan. 26 meeting.

Known as the 1:1 Chromebook Program, the initiative’s goal is to one day “provide equitable access to digital educational resources for all learners,” according to the district’s web site on the program.

The program is part of the district’s three-year technology plan, which was approved by the school board at the Jan. 26 meeting. That plan will be submitted to the Somerset County Executive Schools Superintendent for review and approval.

Right now, Sampson 5th Graders pick up their laptops – Chromebooks – at the beginning of the school day, and return them before going home.

Ward said that in conjunction with allowing students to take home their computers, he would like to see more free WiFi “hot spots” established in the township.

“We have to work on that,” he said.

Board member Pat Stanley expressed concern over that, saying hot spots “are not that safe” and asking Ward what safety measures were being put in place to guard against the loss of personal data.

Ward told her that the companies they use to furnish software have their own safety measures.

He also said that students would not be able to access any unapproved sites with the computers because all Internet access would be filtered through the district’s firewall.

The program is meant to “provide equitable access to digital educational resources for all learners,” according to the 1:1 program web page. “This transition will allow students and teachers to engage in transformative uses of technology while enhancing student collaboration, communication and creativity. 21st Century learners have transitioned from consumers of information to creative producers and owners of knowledge.”

“In addition this program will prepares our  students for a globally interconnected and evolving world that experiences rapidly changing technological advancements,” according to the web page.

According to the web page, the program facilitates:

  • “Access to digital educational resources
  • Availability to engage in 24/7 Learning
  • Individualized learning
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Technology literacy skills
  • College and career readiness”

“We, as a district, are proud and excited of the SGS 1:1 Chromebook initiative and its impact on student learning,” according to the SGS 1:1 web page. “We believe the opportunity for each SGS student to have their own device will result in an overall enhanced educational experience, better student organizational skills, personalized learning and expansion of learning and sharing beyond the walls of Sampson G. Smith.”


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