1:1 Initiative Gives Students Access to Innovative Educational Solutions
|All BC freshmen and sophomores receive Acer laptops with touchscreen and tablet capabilities.|
|Students can also order customized laptop cases to show their Husky pride.|
Bishop Carroll is bringing students a new way to connect to their courses, teachers, classmates, and the world. The 1:1 Initiative just began this year, with all freshmen and sophomores receiving Acer laptops with touchscreen and tablet capabilities. Each is outfitted with email, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and other useful software. Currently, about 110 students and all faculty have benefited from the program, which is funded by generous friends and alumni of BC.
Once a student receives a device as an incoming freshman, that particular laptop is theirs to use for the next four years, while attending Bishop Carroll. They can be used at home, 24/7, with the only limitations being blocks on any site not permitted for use on school property (such as shopping sites).
Science instructor Michele Kirk has already found the technology to be particularly useful for on-the-spot research in the classroom. “Student questions can be answered immediately. You know the type—someone asks a question and the teacher would say, ‘Well, that is a great question. Why don’t you look it up and report on that tomorrow?’ Or maybe the question pertains to something more recent they saw in the news. The research can be completed immediately and in real time with students doing the searching.”
She does note that some of the students are less email-savvy than she expected, with most being accustomed to texting. However, with a little tutoring, they’ve been able to ace the process. The students are using email to work in group projects, send work back and forth, and increase efficiency, without waiting for computer lab space or availability.
The laptops also provide access to education-specific tools, such as eBackpack and PowerSchool. Students can use these to check assignments and grades, or even just announcements from an instructor. They can also turn in work online, without any printing or paper waste.
Many students find the note-taking abilities to be the most helpful feature. Freshman Giuseppe “Joey” Bernard says this aspect of the experience was both the most unexpected and the most useful.
Another favorite capability is the reduction of items needed in the classroom. Freshman Faith McMullen states that the most beneficial part of using the devices in the classroom is simply “the fact that I can have all my notes on my laptop, so I don’t have to carry around a dozen notebooks... It is very convenient and a relief to always have my notes and assignments wherever I go.”
Other student-recognized benefits include the ease of access to useful resources. “I think using the devices in class is working well to both the students’ and the teachers’ benefit. For example, it’s easier and saves class time to download notes in Bio and view them with the teacher than it is to copy the notes by hand,” says freshman Mara Yahner. “I like being able to go straight to typing assignments when given time in class rather than writing them down and then transferring them to my home computer. Downloading notes is easier and more time-saving than copying by hand. I’m surprised we even use the laptops for gym to take quizzes!”
Kirk does recognize that there have been some growing pains to the process—ensuring that the students do not experience technical problems, or that they consistently bring the devices to class each day. However, the overwhelming response from both faculty and students has been positive.