Professional Development

Houston Moves into Phase 2 of High School 1-to-1

Houston Independent School District is on track to continue expanding its high school 1-to-1 program this month. The Texas school district has been training teachers over the last several months in how to use laptops and Web-based tools in daily instruction. Now the 18,000 students in their classrooms at 21 high schools will receive digital devices.

They'll be joining 11 other schools that comprised a phase one of the "PowerUp" laptop distribution. By 2016, every student at every high school will have a laptop. The current model being distributed is a "business class" HP computer.

Houston worked with the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina to provide training for its educators. Mooresville, which has a long-time 1-to-1 program in place, sent a team of educators to Houston in December to deliver a workshop and hands-on training to their Texas counterparts. During the previous month principals, teachers and administrators from Houston traveled to North Carolina to see the Mooresville teachers in action.

As the district told its community in a press release about the initiative, "By providing students with 24-hour access to a digital device, students can become producers and evaluators of knowledge, not just consumers. The laptops will allow them to locate, evaluate and interpret information, as well as collaborate with others to engage in authentic, real-world tasks. Most importantly, the students will develop the skills they need to compete in today's 21st-century economy."

In order to receive the devices, students and their parents must sign a district laptop loan agreement and pay a $25 security fee that's nonrefundable. They must also jointly attend a family night to learn about device care and digital citizenship.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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