Nutley High School is always looking to evaluate, change, and grow for the betterment of the student body, school and staff. The new 1:1 Chromebook Initiative is a perfect example of this. In an ever-changing technology-driven world, each student of Nutley High School received their own Google Chromebook at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. In previous years, students would access communal devices stored on carts, such as iPads or Chromebooks, in their classroom setting to aid learning. Now, with their own personal devices, students and faculty both hope to future develop technology skills.
Longtime NHS history teacher Mr. Joe Dwyer became the Coordinator of Integrated Technology for the district halfway through the 2017-18 school year, only months before the initiative took effect. Even though he has since left that position to become Coordinator of Social Studies, Mr. Dwyer said that the mission was simple: “making sure the Chromebooks rolled out effectively and making sure everyone physically got one.”
Even after each student got a Chromebook, the job was not done. “A long-term goal is to make sure that we have teachers using them (the Chromebooks) with students in a way that is not just a substitution for something else, but really allowing for a transformation of learning, where students are doing new things with those Chromebooks that they would have been unable to do without them,” Dwyer said.
With a Google Chromebook in each student’s hand, the plan was given the footing to become an effective way to learn. The initiative’s success relies heavily on the students and staff integration of the Chromebooks into their daily lives. “For the longest time, we've been trying to get to a one-to-one ratio with Chromebooks as most of the instruction and learning expectations have shifted,” said NHS Principal Denis Williams. “Other Districts have been implementing 1:1 initiatives for years. We are playing catch-up.”
Now, as the first marking period comes to a close, each student of Nutley High School has successfully received a 13-inch Google Chromebook. Dr. Jessica Shoja, the district’s current Coordinator of Integrated Technology has a new vision for the future of the 1:1 Initiative. “The focus of the 1:1 Chromebook program in the Nutley Public Schools is to prepare students for their futures in a world of digital technology and information,” said Dr. Shoja. “As we navigate the 21st century, ?excellence in education requires that technology, including access to the internet, be readily available and seamlessly integrated throughout the educational program.”
In grades 6-12, a device is assigned to every student. Students use the Chromebook throughout the school day and take it home with them each day.
Integrating technology into instruction allows students and staff to think differently and use technology to redesign tasks. The audience for the work becomes the world, not just the teacher or classmates. When students are more engaged and involved in instruction, significant improvements in learning are evidenced, and student outcomes are improved.
Students and staff at NHS continue to get acclimated to having their own device and using it throughout the day and at home. Nutley joins districts throughout the state, country, and internationally who are stressing the importance of instructional technologies integrated into the classrooms and coursework on a daily basis with the goal of maximizing student success.