North Carolina Middle School Sees Academic Gains with 1:1 Laptop Program


Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School in North Carolina is claiming success for a 1:1 laptop program that it implemented about two years ago in a collaborative effort between industry and higher education.

Through the program, some 200 eighth-grade students were provided with access to laptops, while teachers and staff were provided with training and professional development resources. According to Sharon Irby, Centennial's 1:1 initiative project manager, the results of the program so far have been gains in both classroom performance and technical proficiency among students.

"Students today grow up with e-mail, IM, text messaging and video games. They think with technology and they learn with technology. We've witnessed in just one year what a large impact it can make," she said in a statement released this week. "I see technical proficiency improving daily. Our eighth-graders' scores on the North Carolina Computer Competency Test have risen dramatically since last year."

"The eighth-grade math students were the only ones in our school to achieve high growth as measured by the North Carolina ABCs accountability measures," said George Ward, lead teacher at Centennial.

Partners in the collaborative effort have included the William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University, analytics developer SAS, and the Wake County Public School System, of which Centennial is a part.

SAS is providing the laptops and teacher professional development using its Curriculum Pathways software. Curriculum Pathways provides lesson plans, activities, and other educational tools via the Web, covering core curriculum subjects: English, history, math, science, and Spanish. It's targeted primarily toward grades 8 through 12, although the company said it's also being used in community colleges. Some features include differentiated instruction techniques, mapping to state standards, technology integration, and interactive learning materials.

The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation is contributing in the areas of staff development and evaluation. The Friday Institute houses the North Carolina 1:1 Learning Collaborative, an initiative that provides resources for educators, administrators, and IT professionals on 1:1 computing, including forums, professional development tools, and other materials.

The district itself is providing infrastructure and technical support for the program.

A SAS-sponsored Webcast further discussing the Centennial 1:1 initiative can be accessed here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

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