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Pilot Program at Curtis Middle School Making the Grade

Sixth-grade students taking advantage of Chromebooks.

From left, Superintendent Anne Wilson, School Committee Chair Rich Robison and Vice Chair Ellen Winer Joachim are seen during the Jan. 22 meeting at Curtis Middle School.
From left, Superintendent Anne Wilson, School Committee Chair Rich Robison and Vice Chair Ellen Winer Joachim are seen during the Jan. 22 meeting at Curtis Middle School.

It was green-lighted last summer, and already administrators are calling it a success.

During the Sudbury Public Schools Committee meeting on Jan 22 at Curtis Middle School, Principal Stephen Lambert and other administrators reported a pilot 1:1 program for sixth-graders has already showed positive signs.

The program, which allows every student to use a Chromebook, has helped 94 percent of students communicate better, according to a recent survey. The survey also reported 96 percent of parents believe it has enhanced their children's collaboration with teachers and peers.

"These are good numbers," Lambert said.

Chromebooks are laptops with Google Chrome as its operating system.

In one example of how the Chromebooks have helped, Lambert explained how one student had difficulty finding a South American article.

Thanks to an online message board he and other students could access and collaborate, the student was able to find the article.

According to Lambert, the 1:1 program immediately lets teachers review student responses to online questions.

Lambert said the program should be fully implemented in the near future.

siobhan hullinger January 25, 2014 at 09:21 AM
Dolores - wouldn't it be great if our public schools could teach the way private schools do? Imagine the possibilities if they didn't subscribe to the Common Core? Or state and federal mandates? Just curious - how many children in our school system use flight simulators on the weekends or don't have any electronics? I'm not saying that your point isn't well taken, I'm merely pointing out that public vs private is a totally different discussion.
Spanky Simian January 26, 2014 at 08:35 AM
Heaven forbid any of these children are ever put in a position where overwhelming technology is not available to them. We will know them by their rocking back and forth in the corner with their thumb in their mouths because they were never taught to do anything the hard way. Yeah! More Technology, less writing, less literature, less learning! MORE DEPENDENCY!!! What is the worst that can happen.
Elvira January 26, 2014 at 06:47 PM
Perhaps before you start introducing more technology- you should address the rampant bullying in Curtis! Perhaps the teenage pregnancy problem as well!
MomofThree January 27, 2014 at 12:46 PM
As a parent of 3 children in the SPS and LS districts and a Sudbury resident for over 18 years, I am thrilled to see the teachers and administrators exploring the appropriate use technology in our kids' education. If anyone is familiar with the Kahn Academy's approach to teaching math to children, you can imagine how useful it would be for our Curtis students to review in class lectures at home through their Chromebooks and utilize class time to digest and practice the material with a human being, their teacher. This is in direct contrast to traditional methods of teaching where a students watch lectures in class and struggle through the practice (homework) at home alone or with the support of a parent who may not be able to understand 'new math'. I am interested to learn more about how these tablets will be used to improve collaboration and communication between teachers and students. The Activeborad technology with the hand-held remote response pods has enabled teachers to pinpoint which students understand the lessons and which are having trouble. I respect the comments here about the importance of teaching our children strong social, interpersonal and oral/written communication skills. It shocks me that my children have trouble reading cursive writing. It is even more frustrating to me that the ELA curriculum at any level does not emphasize teaching the rules of grammar. A high percentage of our population today including politicians, newcasters, teachers and administrators don't know how to use the English language correctly. This trend is not necessarily a direct result of technology. Technology is not going away. It is something to be managed and used to our advantage. It is not the schools' responsibility to limit our children's use of technology and balance that with physical activity, personal interaction or anything else for that matter. It is the responsibility of the parent.
Dolores January 28, 2014 at 06:10 PM
Writing cursive is quickly becoming an obvious class-marker. As one blogger bluntly put it, "The ruling class will know it, and by those markers will know each other. The grimy proles like the rest of us will not." In addition to typing, our kids should be confident that their handwriting is as quick and looks every bit as sophisticated as the independent school kids' in the next town over.

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