WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2017

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/856603

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Page 165 of 219

this format, her students write more frequently and get more immediate, real-time feedback from her. "I can give them higher-quality writing instruction. It's hard to compare it to walking around desks and trying to read handwritten stuff over their shoulders." Her teaching approach has evolved over the two years she's been involved in the pilot pro- gram. "I've been tweaking and refining as I've developed professionally in this way myself. I now look for opportunities where I can put in more quick writing assignments," she says. She feels this integration of shorter, more fre- quent assignments has allowed her to give more feedback to students, which has posi- tively impacted their development as writers. She acknowledges that there are some instances when the laptop cannot substitute for tried and true pen-to-paper. "My students are now reading Romeo and Juliet, and they take notes with a pencil and highlighter. There is definitely an important component when a student is reading a sonnet and taking notes, drawing arrows…. There is something hap- pening," she says. Wellesley High School student Will Morris, 17, was in Kerr's classroom pilot class in 2016-17 and is an enthusiastic supporter of the transition to personal laptop use. Note taking is more efficient on a computer, he says, and he much prefers storing his work on a computer to carrying around a binder full of papers. When asked about the debate about handwritten notes adding to retention of information, he acknowledges, "I might remember things better if I write them down, but I can't read my own handwriting." He's certainly not alone there. Thom Henes teaches in the WHS Evolu - tions program, a collaborative, experiential curriculum that's open to juniors and seniors of any academic level. This interdisciplin- ary program incorporates English, science, social studies, and art. Evolutions started S T O C K B R O K E R / 1 2 3 R F . C O M W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 7 164 education "access to laptops is a big time saver"

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