Piloting New Technology


Siandhara Bonnet

Junior Zachary Markham uses the Lenovo Thinkpad in History of the Americas

by Siandhara Bonnet, Editor-in-Chief

In addition to the new science building and a completely new PRIDE Time system that allows students to have more tutorial times built into their days, students have been using new Lenovo Thinkpads since their arrival in early November.

The Thinkpads are presented as laptops, but have the ability to turn into tablets simply by folding the screen up and around. The school was chosen as a pilot school for the district due to campus readiness (as measured by the annual Texas Teacher STaR Chart: School Technology and Readiness), the number of teachers who have participated in Educate and Educate 2 Academies, the age of existing equipment on campus, and representation for economic and geographic diversity.

Four teachers, Mrs. Heauenstein, Mr. Eatmon, Mr. Cruz, and Ms. Toomey, have been chosen as pilot classrooms for the Thinkpads, receiving about 25 so that all students can use one.

“My students have the option of using the laptops all period, everyday,” Hauenstein said. “The amazing thing for me is having 1-1 access for every student everyday. That has made my life easier, I believe it’s made the students’ lives easier because they have better access to all of the resources that they need for my class.”

For Eatmon and Hauenstein, students have been able to use their laptops everyday in class for taking notes or for assignments.

“With the new laptops, the style of learning has become more hands-on,” senior Alisa Greene said. “We can do more projects and research in order to gain our own knowledge. And that’s really what we do in [Theory of Knowledge].”

Cruz’s math classes have yet to receive their own Thinkpads, but Cruz is expecting them to arrive soon.

“I was told I might receive my set of Thinkpads and cart the week we return back from the fall break,” Cruz said, “but the exact day I don’t know yet.  It’s all a work in progress with a lot of exciting changes to come.”

Unlike the other teachers, Toomey does not have classes assigned to her this year.

“My present plan for these is to eventually have them available when teachers request to use them during instruction in their classes,” Toomey said.

This is only part one of the plan. Part two is that every teacher will receive the thinkpads and Freshmen will be able to take them home at a one-to-one basis. The hope is that all students will be able to have their own, provided by the school, in the coming years.

“I think that an effective integration of technology in instruction has great potential for increasing student learning,” Toomey said. “I believe that these Thinkpads can provide additional opportunities for students during the learning process as they research, collaborate, organize, and present their findings and/or ideas.”

Henry and Canyon Ridge Middle School have also been selected as pilot campuses which are an extension of the pilots that are currently underway in middle school math and secondary Educate 2 classrooms.

According to the district email sent out in October: We will continue to study the impact and effectiveness of increased access to digital resources, content and devices on student engagement and learning and results from the model school implementation will guide the future roll-out of mLISD throughout the district.