A thundering round of applause broke out at the Energy Institute High School this past week as nearly 200 students received their own laptops to use at school and at home as part of PowerUp, the district’s one-to-one laptop initiative.
‘’It was really touching and emotional for me to see these students get so excited as they were handed their computers,” said Instructional Technology Senior Manager Beatriz Arnillas. “This program is really going to change our students’ lives and prepare them for a successful future.”
The reaction was similar at the Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy as students oohed and aahed over their laptops. Principal Dameion Crook could barely contain his excitement as well.
“This takes us from a place of learning with pen, paper, and books and brings a world far away into our classrooms here in Houston,” said Crook. “It’s a great opportunity to not only expand learning but to personalize learning with our kids.”
Students at the YMCPA, the Energy Institute, and the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy all received their laptops this month, while students at eight other high schools will receive their computers at the beginning of 2014.
“By starting at just these three schools it allows us to distribute the devices on a smaller scale so we can ensure that we have everything in place to properly support our teachers, students, and parents when we deploy the remaining laptops in January,” said Arnillas.
Teachers at all 11 PowerUp schools received their laptops in August and are currently undergoing training and professional development on how to use the computers to create engaging lesson plans for their students.
Families of students at all PowerUp schools are required to attend a parent meeting to learn about the device and accompanying software that their child will be assigned. They also will receive instruction on Internet safety, the proper use of technology, and good digital citizenship.
Students will also undergo digital citizenship instruction and they, along with their parents, will sign an agreement stating they understand appropriate Internet behavior and the responsible use of technology.