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 167 of 219

students to have access to high quality computers in their classroom and at home levels the playing field. At Wellesley High School, there are four options for BYOT: 1. Bring a laptop from home 2. Purchase a laptop through the school 3. Use a school-issued laptop during the day, with the expectation that the student will have access to their own computer at night, or 4. Use a school issued laptop at school and at home (for students who meet financial qualifications) Wellesley Public Schools Technology Director Kathleen Dooley notes, "I feel like we've designed a program that gives everybody an opportunity to participate with all of these choices. I'm really excited about it. Wellesley teachers are very innovative. We are putting a great tool in the hands of our teachers and students. Because of this, they can think differently about they do things, and be more creative with their assignments." And what about the risk that computers, and access to the internet, will be a distraction? In talking to teachers, administrators, and stu- dents, no one denies that this is an issue. All note that teachers are in charge, and are expected to let students know when it's appropriate to have their computers open and when to put them away. McCanne says that while Weston High School initially had firewalls to block certain sites, they've changed that approach, and no longer block sites such as Facebook and Instagram. He reasons: "If you try to control something that is uncontrollable, you won't succeed. It's true that students are clever and will try to get around firewalls. We want to teach our students how to be productive and regulate themselves with regard to technology. We want to them to have the experience before they go to college. Why not teach them how to manage their own time in balancing school work and social media, versus trying to prevent it." Kerr relates that she did have an issue when students learned they could connect their laptops to their phones and have text messages sent to their laptops. But Kerr notes: "It's easier than you may think to tell when a kid is reading a text versus something they should be reading." She also makes the point, "I don't think it's any different than a kid hav- ing his cell phone vibrate in his pocket and asking to go to the bath- room [to check it]." And Kerr notes an unanticipated distraction: One of the biggest sources of texts during school was … parents. High school grades are electronically published on the PowerSchool app, and some parents who were seeing this come through on PowerSchool were texting their kids to ask about these grades. Hence the value of pilot programs. Using the experience of the last two years, Wellesley High School faculty members have developed clear guidelines and expectations for computer use in the classroom. They've invested time and energy into professional development, and are ready to go live. As McCanne puts it, "The future of educational technology will be fascinating." 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 7 166 education "a great tool in the hands of our teachers and students"

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