Students at Carroll Middle School in Raleigh will receive personal tablets at a ceremony Tuesday, giving the Wake County school system another chance to test the viability of providing students with electronic devices they can take home with them.
According to Wake, Carroll is one of eight schools in the nation selected into the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools (VILS) program directed by Digital Promise. Digital Promise, received a grant from Verizon, and has donated approximately 1,000 Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablets to the school.
The Carroll students will use the tablets in school, but they will also be allowed to take them home. The tablets come with a two-year, five-gigabyte Verizon Wireless data plan so students, regardless of their family income, will have guaranteed Internet access.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to incorporate technology into their learning in very meaningful ways, both in class and at home,” said Todd Wirt, Wake’s assistant superintendent for academics., in a press release “Teachers have spent a lot of time preparing to make the best possible use of these tablets to ensure a great learning experience.”
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Wirt is referencing how Digial Promise has been training teachers at Carroll since last fall on how to integrate the tablets into the classroom to help increase student achievement. For instance, the tablets can be used for video production, online research, QR (Quick Response) code “scavenger hunts” and website development.
The students, accompanied by their parents, will receive today both the tablets and a short training session on their care and usage.
Wake school officials will evaluate how the tablets are used at Carroll to see if it can be applied to other schools. The district saw the pros and cons when tablets were donated to students at East Cary Middle School.
Some districts have gone much further than Wake on the issue. For instance, the Orange County school system issues laptop computers that elementary and middle school students can take home with them.
The tablet distribution comes at the same time Wake is experimenting with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs in which students can bring in their own electronic devices to use in class.