AMES–Ames High School students say they can hardly wait for school to start next week. That’s because their school supplies include more than sharp pencils and crisp, clean notebooks. This year, every student at Ames High School has an 11-inch MacBook Air laptop. The laptops are stocked with computing power and software to give students tools to learn and develop the higher-order thinking skills they’ll need for a lifetime.
Luke Smith and Gony Bijiek, both in 11th grade, took a test drive on Wednesday during the student and parent orientation for the initiative. Bijiek said he's looking forward to ramping up the quality of his school projects. Smith said he wants to take advantage of the MacBook Air's processing power and software for art and drawing classes.
Karl Hehr, the district’s Director of Technology Services, said the students’ enthusiasm is one reason he’s not calling the initiative a “1:1 program.”
“We call it a 21st Century Learning Initiative,” he said. “The computer is a state-of-the art tool that’s part of a larger framework for the way students and teachers work together,” he said.
There’s no magic in a computing device, Hehr said to parents and students. “The magic is in giving students and teachers the tools they need to create, collaborate and communicate.”
Superintendent Tim Taylor said the Ames Community School District isn’t the first one to offer 1:1 computing devices to its students.
“But it’s the largest initiative in Iowa that we know of,” he said.
“This is one of the proudest moments for me since the community passed the school bond referendum last year,” Taylor said.
Hehr said it's the district's goal to make the technology program one of the best in the nation. Iowa State University will be conducting research on the initiative and giving feedback on how to improve it, he said.
“We’re also breaking ground in that we’re asking for feedback from parents, not just students,” he said.
For more information on the 21st Century Learning Initiative, click here and here.
Contact: Kathy Hanson,
Director of School, Community and Media Relations
Ames Community School District
Mobile: (515) 450-9588