Not all middle school students are as computer-savvy as they are portrayed in pop culture, but Hillsboro Middle School students have plenty of time to build that experience.
Students are still familiarizing themselves with laptop computers issued by the school to each student.
USD 410 Board of Education voted in May 2009 to equip all Hillsboro high and middle school students with laptop computers over the course of two school years. The program began at HHS in 2009-10.
Principal Greg Brown taught seventh-graders to use the school’s wireless network and servers Friday. He emphasized the importance of organizing their files, comparing computers to lockers.
A student with an organized locker would have an easier time finding a specific paper than a student with a messy locker. Computer files are a lot like a locker that way, he said, only a computer can hold a lot more than a locker.
In their preparation for the laptop initiative, staff members studied how other middle schools were using technology in 2009-10, Brown said. Lindsborg and Lyons middle schools had established one-to-one laptop programs, and Andover Central Middle School heavily integrated technology into classrooms but did not issue computers to students.
Seventh- and eighth-grade students were required to pass a quiz with 90 percent accuracy before receiving the privilege to take their school-issued computers home. The quiz focused on the district’s policy for acceptable computer use.
Sixth-grade students will not take laptops home at least until later in the year, maybe even until seventh grade, Brown said. The computers will continue to be used in school, though.