What started as a dream and the idea of a committee in the Hesston School District has become a reality and changes the way teachers at Hesston High School teach and interact with students.
“This helps us speak the same language as the kids,” said teacher Eric Clark. “The kids know how to use this.”
He’s speaking of laptops — and this year the school issued a laptop to each student to use throughout the year. In education circles this project is called a “one-to-one initiative.”
The district technology committee created the plan, and did cost analysis for how it could come to fruition. They were motivated by a belief Hesston schools were falling behind in the realm of technology.
“Our kids were not where they needed to be and teachers did not have the equipment to get them there,” said principal Larry Thompson. “Two years ago we started talking about how to make moves to catch up and how to prepare kids for college.”
During those discussions the idea of a one-to-one initiative was formed, and what changes the district may need to make in order to get one started.
That included changes in the classroom, and how teachers not only taught material but the kind of projects they assigned students as home work.
“The lesson taught might be similar,” Thompson said. “But how the kids show their knowledge of the subject is different.”
Instead of giving a speech on a topic, students use the computers to make presentations. Rather than create a poster for the wall, they make a movie.
“In my class they are using the Macs to create a five- to 10-minute film that is persuasive,” Clark said. “This allows us to do things that are bigger and grander in scheme than before.”