NH schools experiment with different ways to bring technology to classroomsBy MELISSA PROULX
Union Leader Correspondent
September 07. 2017 11:39PM
ALLENSTOWN — Schools around the state are learning what works best for them when it comes to integrating technology in the classroom.
All students at the Armand R. Dupont Middle School in Allenstown have received Chromebook computers that they will use during their entire time at the school. Once they head off to high school, they will be able to bring the computers home with them.
“Right now, we’re keeping them at the school,” said ARD Principal Shannon Kruger.
Students will pick up and turn in their computers at the end of the day to charge in a computer cart. If a student should leave the district before eighth grade, he or she will need to give the computer back to the school. It would then be used by the next student in that grade level who moves into the district.
It’s an approach that schools throughout the state have taken in the last few years. The Department of Education doesn’t keep track of just how many have this sort of project because the numbers tend to fluctuate so often.
Having the laptops assigned to each student can help with learning in the classroom, as it’s a resource readily available for both students and teachers. Before, the chromebooks needed to be reserved by the teachers, Kruger said.
This also allows the opportunity to teach the students how to be smart and safe consumers, Kruger said. Right now, students already take computer classes. This gives the school the opportunity to further expand those lessons for students, Kruger said.
“I think that technology is a tool and something they’re going to be using their whole life,” she said.
For other schools in the state, enrollment could pose a challenge if they want to implement this method. In Londonderry, for example, they have a little more than 4,400 students split up amongst six schools.
“We don’t have any immediate plans to go to a one to one approach, though wouldn’t rule it out at some point, should our learning environment dictate that kind of a shift,” said Superintendent Scott Laliberte. “Obviously this would take considerable planning in a district our size.”
Right now, Laliberte said they do encourage students to bring their own devices to help with learning. He said it’s indicative of the way students and teachers are interacting in the classroom.
“I really sort of feel like the concept of technology integration is outdated,” he said. “Now, you can certainly teach without technology. But it’s hard.”
Windham schools has also implemented the one to one approach with all their students this year, though the practice has been used at the high school in previous years. All students from second grade through high school are given a laptop to use during the year, though they do give it back in the end.
Kindergarten and first graders use iPads in the classroom.
“We’re definitely really excited to have technology in the classroom,” said Colleen Cronin, the communication liaison for the Windham School District.
This approach also helps students have more uniform learning, since everyone has access to the same technology, Cronin said.
“It really levels the playing field,” she said.