New 1-to-1 Program Is Part of a Middle School's Revitalization
School in the small coastal town of Ilwaco, WA implemented a 1-to-1
program this fall as part of a larger campaign to create a sense of
on the campus and reinvigorate the students' interest in
last seven years, the middle school, with seventh- and eighth-graders
shared a campus with a larger high school and, according to Principal
Simmons, they felt "lost in the crowd." At the same time, he thought the
traditional laptop cart program the school had wasn't enough and, in
students were not inspired by the curriculum.
to work and got his district, the Ocean
Beach School District, to agree to
some major changes. First off, it became what Simmons describes as a
middle school for sixth- through eighth-graders in its own building.
one of the 240 students in the newly formulated school got an Amplify
tablet designed by Intel Education and the curriculum was overhauled
help of the Amplify
System, which included new classroom management and
assessment tools for teachers and personalization features and
tools for students.
curriculum overhaul Simmons talked about included turning Fridays into
with the entire day devoted to two-hour elective courses that ranged
archery and culinary arts to moviemaking and outdoor survival, all
incorporating technology in one way or the other.
example, a group of students used their tablets to research how to
bike chain when it broke.
one of the more traditional classes on the other days of the week,
humanities teacher Kelly Jacobsen had students watch CNN Student News on
tablets before posting questions about a news item that they could
by typing into their tablets. She also shared news articles from the
Newsweek site and followed up with questions like "What was the author's
is only a few months into the 1-to-1 implementation, Jacobsen said the
quick polls and quizzes she's able to give now have allowed her the
have a more immediate read on how well students are understanding the
been two months, but it is hard to imagine going back to doing things
way we did before we had this," Simmons said.
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.