KAYSVILLE -- Overall damage to netbooks given to each student at Centennial Junior High School is declining, thanks to changes in how the school allows the students to use the devices.
No longer are students able to take the netbooks home, which is dramatically decreasing the damage that occurs while the units are transported between home and school in backpacks, stored in students' lockers and in the typical accidents that can happen while away from school premises.
One netbook had been run over by a car last year, school officials said.
Any damage to the netbooks was previously paid for by the students. School officials wanted to prevent students from taking the netbooks home from the beginning, but because of state regulations in the way the program operated, they were unable to make changes until this year.
For the past two years, since the school opened in 2011, Centennial Junior High has been one of four schools in the district piloting the 1:1 program, jargon for students having access to a computer device 24/7.
The district spent $350,000 purchasing the netbooks, and state policy mandated the students take the computers home to have access to the programs they had at school. But the various ways students can access programs online continues to improve.
"We live in a day and age where your electronic persona is cloud-based, and with all of their textbooks online and interaction with teachers all Web-based, they can access those files and textbooks using an iPad, home computer, smart phone or even a neighbor's computer," said Principal Aaron Hogge. "One to one doesn't refer to the device, but how you use the cloud-based storage and software programs that fit the 1:1 profile."
Each class now has its own set of netbooks for students to use during class. The computers are now charged at school. Hogge said it was often a problem that students would forget to charge the unit the night before, and then would leave the charger unit at home.
Eighth-grader Ava Michael said she likes having the netbooks left at school.
"I was always worried about breaking it when I took it home, not to mention the mini-panic attacks I would have when I accidently dropped it a couple of times," Ava said.
Maddy Oyler also doesn't miss using the netbook at home, because of the slow Internet connection.
"It was so annoying, because you'd get home, and it would be really slow," said the eighth-grader. "Sometimes I would even forget it at home, and that was just not cool, because I would need it for my classes."
Hogge said having the program at his school has been a unique opportunity for his students.
"I think it's been hugely successful, because that's how they learn these days," Hogge said. "We want to teach them how to use electronics appropriately, which can dramatically increase their learning opportunities."
Another change the school has made since the 1:1 program started is in encouraging students to bring their own devices to school.
"I love it when kids bring their own devices, because it can be very effective using electronics, and we need to know what they are doing, rather than playing hide and seek," Hogge said.
The school is hooked up to wireless Internet, and the netbooks are put on a filter system, so even when kids log in at home or on other devices, they are logged in through the same filter, Hogge said. Teachers can also control the Internet settings in their classroom, which allows them to control how the devices are used with their students.
Carol Nef, Davis School District's 1:1 supervisor, said she has received favorable comments from teachers in the program. She said:
"Teachers are saying this is making a huge difference, because we've seen an increase in student achievement on level testing at the schools with a 1:1 program, the students are more organized because they aren't losing assignments, and the kids are getting better grades."