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BV community expresses hopes of future personal laptops

Shay Lawson, Staff Writer

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Blue Valley is the oldest school in the district, but this doesn’t stop us from keeping up with the latest educational trends. BV was chosen to participate in a recent pilot the District Office conducted among high schools and middle schools where four teachers were given two different devices — Google Chromebooks and Apple MacBook Airs.

The purpose of this pilot is to figure out one essential question: If more devices were put in the hands of students, how would it change instructional strategies?

The classrooms at BV were given MacBook Airs to experiment with day-to-day learning. Spanish teacher Kathryn Sanfle said she wasn’t sure if she was going to like the new additions of laptops but loved having the MacBooks in class.

“I have a lot of online resources we use to practice in class regularly for vocabulary and verbs in addition to Canvas,” Sanfle said. “It has given me a lot more time in class to have students practice in the way they would like to, so there’s a little bit more choice in what students are able to do.”

Laptops haven’t just benefitted teachers. Students like sophomore Courtney Carvajal said the MacBooks have helped out because students have the ability to do more online practice in class with their teachers.

“It has positively impacted me because being able to practice the lesson in class with your teacher there to help you means you’re learning correctly instead of learning it wrong,” Carvajal said. “It’s been a time-saver being able to do more online in class than having to do it at home.”

Even though the laptops have improved learning, the district still must decide which laptop would be the better option between the two devices.

Sanfle said she doesn’t know very much about the Chromebooks other than the ability to do Spanish accent marks has been difficult.

Weighing in with another view, industrial technologist Keil Pittman believes that MacBooks are staggered to using a normal laptop that would just have a good internet connection.

“A MacBook offers — from an IT-standpoint — fewer viruses,” Pittman said. “MacBooks instinctively just don’t get viruses as much as a PC would.”

Sanfle and Pittman both agreed the iMovie feature the MacBooks include is a good opportunity to utilize the program for educational purposes.

The research conducted over this pilot year will determine if students receive their own laptops next school year at the beginning second semester. Many students and teachers think personal laptops are a great idea for next year, like Sanfle.

“I really like having students have devices in class,” Sanfle said. “Having the same capability and the ability to get on the WiFi or use the websites and tools that we are using in class would be so easy if everyone had access to the same things all the time.”

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