Middle School Digital Device Project Begins


Yesterday, Patti Donnelly’s afternoon Language Arts class took the first step in our digital device exploration program. A parent letter will soon go home to discuss the program particulars. For now, the laptops will be staying at school and primarily used only in the Language Arts class. In time, students will take them home and use them in other classes. Students did take a Pre-Device Questionnaire via a Google Form so we could have some pre-device data with which to base a decsion on whether an iPad or a MacBook Air would be the best device, if Durham Academy, implemented a 1 : 1 program. It was an exciting day for both the students and the teachers as we were joined by Trevor Hoyt, Director of Computer Support who had prepared the 4 year-old laptops with new batteries, power adapters, and configured them to auto-synch to the network. Students asked us many questions and were ready to get going as they have been having discussions in class in preparation for the rollout. Next week, we will roll out iPads with Ms. Williams’ morning Language Arts Class.

Ms. Donnelly sent the above picture with this note:

Pretty much sums up day ONE!
Patti Donnelly, M.Ed., N.B.C.T. – MC

This is some of the text of the letter being sent home for parents and students.

Durham Academy has believed that students need access to technology as part of a modern learning environment. We currently have around over 100 computers on campus and, for years, have supported students using their own laptops or other devices on campus. Durham Academy has investigated the idea of a 1 to 1 laptop program in the past and carefully considered how such a program would impact our families and learning community. Much has changed since we began this journey and we feel it is necessary now to go one step further. The school plans to test how consistent access to either an iPad or a MacBook would help our students and teachers fulfil their mission. Karl Schaefer, Julie Williams and Patti Donnelly have committed time to the planning and implementation of a pilot program. The goal of the Middle School Digital Device Project (MSDDP) is to determine which device could best meet the needs of the teaching and learning mission of Durham Academy. With that in mind, we would like to inform you of the MSDDP.OverviewBeginning in October, students in Ms. Williams’s and Ms. Donnelly’s classes will have consistent use of either an iPad2 or a 4 four year old MacBook. All other middle school classes will serve as control groups. At any given time in the project, 38 students will have consistent access (on campus and at home) to a school issued device. Other students will continue to use the computer labs, desktops, iTouch cart and laptop carts. Through the use of the MacBooks and iPads, we plan to assess which device more successfully integrates learning and teaching by conducting a pre-use and post-use questionnaire. We plan to use the information gained in the MSDDP to guide the school’s adoption of a student device in the near future.
We will also monitor how the following will impact the learning environment:

  • 24/7 access with a 1 to 1 device
  • how broadly and frequently apps and input methods are utilized
  • increased independence and self-guided learning by studentsextension of learning opportunities beyond the classroom
  • development of skills and literacy through interacting with digital media
  • level of creativity and collaboration demonstrated by students and teachers

In addition, we plan to collect anecdotal evidence from teachers and students via classroom blogs.


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One thought on “Middle School Digital Device Project Begins

  1. What a great post. This is such an exciting time for the middle school! Good luck and keep us posted on how it goes!

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