Upton Middle School prepares for new laptops

Some of the staff at Upton Middle School are putting the finishing touches on a plan that will bring more technology into the classroom.

It’s an initiative that will give every 6th grader his or her own laptop.

The technology integrating specialist, Amy Dirlam says, “The best benefit is that the student has access all the time, and we feel that the laptop will extend the learning beyond the regular classroom day.

With the help of about a $200,000 dollar grant from the St, Joseph Public School Foundation and tons of help from the staff, it is getting done right.

“We wanted in our district to make sure we knew why we were doing it, make sure we were ready, instructionally, our teachers were prepared, structure wise we didn't want to do anything until we knew our internet capabilities and our wiring, that all the pieces and parts that our IT department could handle it, and so we have been very careful not to rush this and that’s why I think we are so excited that it is finally here” says Dirlam.

Each computer will have filters to monitor what the students can access on the internet as well as outside protection.

And while it will make learning more interactive for students, it allows teachers to be more creative as well.

“…a teacher puts a lesson online or on the computer I should say, then the kids go home and watch the lesson, watch the activity, watch the demonstration and they come back to class and talk about what they saw, the kids can collaborate on what they saw” Principal Chad Mandarino says.

Through research, conferences and looking at other schools participating in the one-to-one initiative, the staff says they have very little worries and are just excited.

“The fact that these kids are getting laptops is incredible to me, and I think it’s hard to imagine in 5 years what it’s going to look like, but for the next few it is going to be very exciting for the kids” says Mandarino.

The computers will be handed out to all of the 6th graders at the end of the month and each student will be given the opportunity to buy their laptop when they graduate.

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