Goshen High School is meeting the challenge of educating in the 21st century by bringing what has become an everyday tool to the everyday schedule of a student.
Goshen’s one-to-one technology program provides a laptop to every student. Teachers have integrated the laptops into classroom work and students transport their laptops to and from school for work in both places.
“We’re getting that technology in the hands of kids because that’s the world we live in,” said David Snyder, Goshen Community Schools’ technology director. “I think there’s a lot of recognition that students need something in classrooms that relate to their real worlds.”
Equipping every student with a laptop means that students can explore subjects and collaborate on projects in ways they couldn’t before.
Providing the laptops also means the school district is helping balance students’ access to resources.
“For the most part, yes, it does help to level the playing field because the program makes technology affordable for those for whom it normally would be out of reach,” said Jennifer Eberly, who works in Goshen High School’s English as a New Language department. She noted that teachers still need to be aware that not all students have internet access at home, though, and need to construct assignments with that in mind.
For many students new to the U.S. who attend GHS, she also needs to spend time explaining how to use the laptop.
Once students can master how to use the laptop, though, David explained, “any information you want is available.” That can allow teachers to access a whole variety of information on a topic that may help students engage with the material they might not have while limited to a textbook.
For many students, David said, providing them with technology that has become such a part of their lives already immediately gets them to engage with their learning.
Technology is something this generation’s students “expect, want, and enjoy,” David said, and learning to use that technology appropriately in a school setting helps prepares students for college and a career.
“I think there’s a lot of recognition that students need something in classrooms that relate to their real worlds.”
Once students can master how to use the laptop, though “any information you want is available.”