Graphic Illustration by Elizabeth Cheng and Emma Constable
FUHSD has implemented a 1-to-1 device program for the 2021-22 school year, through which all students will have access to personal laptops or a Chromebook provided by the district.
Students who wish to bring a personal device must bring one equipped with a camera and microphone, as well as an optional charging cable if the device’s battery does not last for 6 hours. Those who wish to request a Chromebook must fill out FUHSD’s technology assistance request form. The district discourages the use of the tablets as personal devices, and a complete list of device requirements is available on the district’s website.
FUHSD hopes that the 1-to-1 device program will ease the transition to in-person instruction and prepare students for 21st century learning. Teachers utilized Schoology as the common platform to post announcements, assign homework and post class resources during the 2020-21 school year, and the 1-to-1 device program will enable teachers to continue this approach.
There are worries that the devices may distract students in spite of the anticipated benefits of the program. When Lynbrook’s Class of 2023 and 2024 were in middle school, the Cupertino Union School District distributed an iPad to each middle school student. However, the devices soon proved to be a distraction, as some students used them to play games and message others instead of using them for purely educational purposes.
“Some people may not have the maturity to handle their own device in high school,” Cupertino High School senior Vishal Shenoy said. “In middle school, everybody would goof off the whole day, so I’m not sure if kids would be able to handle computers.”
The district started the 1-to-1 device program so teachers could have time to develop strategies to ensure students stay focused in class with increased access to technology, as students have become accustomed to using devices as learning tools after a year of remote learning. FUHSD is committed to providing professional development on the issue if necessary.
“I find that when students are engaged in learning, they’re less distracted,” Monta Vista High School Principal Ben Clausnitzer said. “It’s a positive approach to helping us solve the problem of students getting distracted.”
In previous years, classrooms carried Chromebook carts with enough computers available for each student during the class period. With the 1-to-1 program, most Chromebook carts were removed from classrooms.
Certain electives like PE and Culinary Arts that traditionally do not use as much technology will have the opportunity to add more online assignments due to the program.
“I think that I’m going to have students do some sort of portfolio with photos — like something that can utilize their Chromebook,” Culinary Arts teacher Megan Miller said.
Miller will continue various aspects of hands-on learning along with online assignments. Some activities, like labs, will remain hands-on, while writing-based activities will be digital to ensure no assignments are lost.
This is not the first time FUHSD has implemented a 1-to-1 device program, as administrators were first introduced to the idea of a 1-on-1 program around 10 years ago. Even before that, in the late 1990s, Lynbrook issued laptops to a group of freshmen, but the program was eventually discontinued due to technical problems.
“I’m happy to say that at Lynbrook and all of our high schools, we now have the infrastructure in place to be able to make 1-on-1 programs a possibility,” Principal Maria Jackson said.