Chromebooks in Maine 207

The 2013-14 school year was the first year of moving to a 1:1 computing environment for grades 9 and 10 in the Maine 207 schools. Each student had a Google Chromebook as his or her primary computing device for use throughout the school day. Equitable access allowed our teachers to create activities that could leverage the power of Internet tools and resources in daily instruction. Our teachers are providing students with opportunities to learn how to appropriately use the web while also building positive work habits when working with technology such as managing distractions, communication skills, and digital citizenship. There has been a great focus on responsible use, respecting others in online settings just as in face-to-face relationships, and becoming more educated and aware while online.

When every student has a device, it changes the way in which teachers and students think about resources. Our teachers have been quickly adopting formal and informal digital resources. The recent and swift switch in the textbook industry to openly adopt and migrate to digital resources at a much lower cost has helped make the 1:1 program cost effective for our families over the long term. In the past two years, 89 percent of new textbooks in the district are lower cost or free digital resources. With many of our older textbooks reaching a point where they need to be replaced, the cost savings of electronic resources, over traditional print resources, is being passed on to all of our families. Over a high school career, families can see hundreds of dollars in savings with these new digital resources, which also offer more up-to-date information and quick access to additional help online.  One of the biggest advantages of digital platforms is the ability for teachers to give and receive real time feedback around student performance providing the ability to adapt and meet the needs of individual students.

Technically managing such a large 1:1 program can be quite difficult. However, students in the Maine 207 Schools receive support for their Chromebooks at our student-run help desks with the assistance of student volunteers and interns. Many of these student “Tech Geniuses” have expressed that they are learning real-life skills such as customer service, computer repair, and experience in training others while working the the ChromeDepot. Tech Geniuses have said that they have gained skills that made them valuable in the workplace and that they could put this experience to use in the future. These student leaders have been essential in ensuring that every student can get help when they need any technology-related assistance.

In just the first year, we have seen positive results from our shift to a 1:1 program with nearly all of our teachers reporting that they have adapted their practices to take advantage of the new computing resources, that students are more engaged, and that classroom practices are more effective. Our students also agree that having dedicated access to a computer has helped them be more successful as a student and that the Chromebook is a valuable tool for getting school work done. For over 60% of our students in the 1:1 program, the Chromebook serves as their primary computing device even when at home. When in school, students use the device when appropriate to do so, and students do not spend an entire day in front of a screen. With a 10-second start up time, teachers are able to design activities that are a blend of traditional and digital learning with transitions that seamlessly move between different styles of learning.

As we head into the second year of the program we are continuing to make improvements how 1:1 works in District 207. We are offering many professional development opportunities for our teachers over the summer to provide avenues for growing new ideas for learning. Our teachers are spending hundreds of hours over the summer developing classroom activities that will include the use of the Chromebooks. The technology team is increasing the capacity of the wireless network and Internet access to better support the additional devices that will be brought in as the next group of freshman join our learning community. Students and teachers will both be better prepared for a school year that involves a 1:1 program and will build on the successes of the first year. We look forward to building on an excellent learning experience in Maine 207 in preparing our students for a much different tomorrow.

Teachers and Students at Maine East Talk about 1:1
Internet Devices are Awesome - Maine South

Introduction to the Maine 207 1:1 Program