With the increasing use of technology, Irvington Middle School has rolled out its 1:1 digital initiative, handing over a school-issued Chromebook laptop to each sixth through eighth grade student to utilize for educational purposes.
“We’re extremely excited for this next phase of technology integration at IMS,” Principal David Sottile said. “With the rollout of our 1:1 Chromebook initiative, we are able to ensure access for all of our students. We’ve been working for some time to find ways in which instruction, student engagement and assessment can be enhanced through the use of technology, and this implementation is an important next step. Furthermore, we’re thrilled to have the chance to move away from the use of personal devices, such as cell phones, while still being able to capture the benefits of technology in the classroom.”
Director of Technology Jason Strumwasser, an innovative educational leader who supports faculty in integrating multimedia technology to enrich instruction, helped organize the rollout and has supported the middle school by ensuring the infrastructure is capable of handling the increased volume of devices and traffic.
“Chromebooks allow for a personalized education and the availability of resources can empower students to become better 21st-century learners,” Strumwasser said.
The devices are set to access the internet via the school’s secure wireless network or at home, blocking unapproved sites. Students can take them whenever and wherever they go. Strumwasser said the purpose of the initiative is to provide students with more access to their schoolwork in a safe and effective way and give teachers the ability to supplement learning through technology.
Tara Chillemi, an eighth grade English language arts teacher, said her students have been excited and eager to use their Chromebooks in class.
“I am thankful for the opportunity to broaden my teaching and incorporate more technology into the classroom,” Chillemi said. “Each day, I am finding more ways the Chromebook can be utilized to maximize the learning experience and needs of each child. The students are able to access all class materials, resources, activities, assignments and information about their classes at the tips of their fingers.”
The rollout began on Sept. 9 for eighth graders, continued on Sept. 16 for seventh graders and concluded on Sept. 23 with sixth graders. The students, who first handed in a parent/student responsibility form, received their Chromebook laptops, along with a personalized protective case with the District’s logo, a charging cable and adapter. Through the use of their Chromebooks, students have access to a variety of Google Apps for Education, which is the core platform for communication and collaboration at the middle school.
Strumwasser said the initiative gives students more accountability and autonomy, and it gives educators more data-informed instruction to see how their students are doing. Meanwhile, students said having their own personal laptops is beneficial because it allows them to be more organized, have quicker access to assignments and get more work done.
The Chromebooks were funded through the school district budget, New York State’s Smart Schools Bond Act and a grant from the PTSA.