FUTURE OF LEARNING: Laptops for all at Memorial Junior High School

CLEVELAND, Ohio - The South Euclid-Lyndhurst City School District is working on an initiative to bring laptops to every student in every classroom.

This year, Memorial Junior High School is the first school in the district to deliver on the initiative, providing about 600 laptops.

Principle Dominick Kaple said he believes this type of digital learning is the future of education.

“Not all of our kids get to go home and get their own personal laptop,” he said. “Being able to provide those to our students and watching them take pride in accountability in their learning is very rewarding.”

Teacher Brett Spicer showed News 5 how he uses his special pen on his projector board, instead of a chalkboard or whiteboard. He said the device has multiple uses for writing, highlighting and also works like a computer mouse, which helps him better engage the students.

“It rejuvenates that excitement and teaching,” he said, “making an impact and the difference for these kids.”

Eighth graders like Donee Frazier can also forgo carrying heavy textbooks and binders.

“You can look up words that you didn't understand, because with the paper, you couldn't really look up words anytime you wanted to,” she said. “So now I feel like that helps me so that means I understand the content much better.”

Frazier said her Chromebook has become a more convenient learning tool and keeps her organized.

“When we were doing it on paper, it was hard because you will write it down, but then tomorrow, you wouldn't know where it was,” she said. “Now, we don't have an excuse saying, ‘oh we left it at home, because now it's on the computer.”

In addition, Mr. Spicer said he is better able to give students different options and tools, based on their performance and learning style.

Since the Chromebooks were first rolled out, Principle Kaple said the average scores on standardized testing for 8th graders went up by 13 percent in English and 10 percent in science. The school provided about 300 laptops during the last school year. This year, they were able to double that amount and provide each student a laptop.

As part of the border-less classroom initiative, the school is also working to prevent students from being distracted with games and other social media sites on their laptops, while in class. 

Right now, Memorial Junior High School is the only school with a Chromebook for each student. Eventually, education leaders hope to expand this program for the whole district.

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