Massachusetts School Launches One-to-One Tech Program

Somerset Middle School will purchase Chromebooks for 618 students to help them transition to high school.

by George Austin, The Standard-Times / September 19, 2018

(TNS) — SOMERSET — Plans are in the works to provide Chromebooks to every student at Somerset Middle School, like has been done at Somerset Berkley Regional High School.

The one to one technology initiative at Somerset Middle School would start for the next school year.

School Superintendent Jeffrey Schoonover said the middle school has about half of the Chromebooks needed for the initiative so the others will have to be purchased and funding for that would be included in the budget for Fiscal Year 2019. There are currently 618 students at the middle school.

Somerset Middle School Principal Pauline Camara said providing Chromebooks to students in grades six through eight is an initiative that has been in the works for a couple of years. She said she had been hoping to get it in the budget for this school year, but said this year can be used to train teachers on how to utilize the technology in their classrooms. She said teachers have been talking about the initiative and have already had some training. Camara said training isn't about replacing teachers, but about employing other teaching and learning strategies.

Camara said Chromebooks are used in every English/language arts class at the middle school now, but the one-to-one initiative will mean students will be bringing the devices to all of their classes. Because of their use of them in the English/language arts classes, Camara said the students are already familiar with how to use the technology.

Camara said that she, along with Schoonover and Lindsey Albernaz, the director of business and finance for the schools, will be visiting a middle school where all of the students have been issued Chromebooks by the school.

Camara said the one to one technology initiative at the middle school will help students to transition better to high school. She said a lot of the school's curriculum is online, so it will be a lot easier for students to access materials and they won't have a need for as many books. She said the Chromebooks will also cut down on the amount of supplies that parents have to buy their children for school.

Camara said they are ironing out how the Chromebooks will be issued to the students at the middle school. Parents at the high school were asked to pay for insurance for Chromebooks. Camara said insurance options would definitely be given at the middle school.

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