How Essential is Your Tech?

How important is technology in our schools?

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How Essential is Your Tech?

Elise Woodfolk

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When entering a classroom on a normal day the expectation is that your phone or device is off and away, not an essential part of class. Many have heard the rumors confirmed that by 2020 Heritage High School, along with many other schools in the county, will have access to 1:1 Chromebooks. This means touchscreen Chromebooks will be provided to each and every student for school use. It may sound like a random excessive for the county, but is it really? Most classrooms already have an array of laptops for the class to use, a Promethean board, and students pull out their phones for activities on a consistent basis. At this point, a transition from online back to a basic textbook would be harder to implement than adding more tech to the equation.

Two of the many mission statements found on the Loudoun County website shares that their education goal is to “review and revise technical programs to meet evolving employment and post-secondary educational requirements,” and to “strive to incorporate 21st Century global skills into the curriculum.”  The mission of our county is to build up the students so they are as prepared for the requirements of the workforce. In 2016, a team was prepared in Loudoun County to create the Loudoun County Schools Technology Plan. This group created the Bring Your Own Technology Initiative and is currently working on new policies for our schools.

The Chromebooks students will use at Heritage High School by 2020.

The 1:1 Chromebook initiative has already been implemented in Harper Park Middle School, and Ms. Robinson the current prinicipal has shed some light on how they were introduced, and the policies created with their use.

The Chromebooks were given to each student during their August open house, but by next year they will be changing that policy to give each student their Chromebook in the first week of school. Additionally, a Responsible Use Plan was given for each student to sign, so they understand the responsibilities of maintaining them on a regular basis. Harper Park Middle school has officially changed to a Personalized Learning school, so each classroom has lessons based on the Chromebooks use; although, the teachers can tell the class to put them away at their discretion. With hundreds of kids responsible for their own Chromebooks, one can expect to see some damage and technological issues, so the Division already has plans in place if any occur. If a minor break occurs then LCPS pays for reparations, however if an impairment occurs on purpose the student or parent is expected to pay for its damages. Other problems include students not understanding that Chromebook use is monitored as long as a they are logged into their LCPS account.

LCPS has a plan to implement technology so students understand how important technology is to the workforce. Though issues pop up here and there, it’s nothing the division didn’t expect or know how to resolve easily. We can expect a lot of change at Heritage High School with the new technology, but with more benefit than anything else.