MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

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Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pilot program that aims to better prepare students for college.

In an effort to better prepare local students for the college experience, the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District plans to integrate laptops in classrooms this fall as compulsory learning tools.

Each student in the district will use a cloud-connected computer to conduct research, take notes, provide peer feedback and work collaboratively on projects. In addition, the district is investing in curriculum development, teacher training and online resources to ensure that students use the technology effectively and in a way that enhances the learning experience.

The technology rollout began last year after the Mountain View Los Altos High School Foundation reported that parents listed technological innovation as their top priority. The foundation pledged $300,000 to the effort and, based on that commitment, applied for a grant from Google Inc. Google matched the foundation’s grant, allowing the district to accelerate the launch. The Tides Foundation partnered with the district financially to support the infrastructure of the program.

Los Altos and Mountain View high schools each have 1,000 Chromebooks available for student use in the classroom during the upcoming school year.

At Los Altos High School, all students will be expected to bring a laptop to class. Students will use the computers regularly to find, create and share digital materials and access a variety of learning tools and data on the Web and a cloud storage system.

Los Altos High students have two options: furnish their own laptops or sign out a Chromebook from school. Mountain View High students will be required to use the Chromebooks provided in their English and Social Studies courses.

Superintendent Barry Groves stressed that while the online resources, teacher training and curriculum development are the same at each school, the difference lies in how the devices are distributed. Groves labeled the technology rollout a pilot program and said that by the end of the school year, the district would have a better idea of how it intends to advance technology integration in the classroom.

“One of our big tasks was to get kids ready for college and beyond,” he said. “Now, everyone has a laptop when they go to class (in college). It’s just part of what you do – you submit online, you get feedback online. This is a good way to get students ready to use this technology when they graduate.”

Before receiving Chromebooks and accessing the district’s online resources, students will be required to sign a Responsible Use and Borrowing Agreement that outlines classroom etiquette for laptop use.

Students will not be expected to have a laptop and know all of the details of the program on the first day of school. In coming weeks, the district will promote the program by communicating with parents and students as the school year ramps up.

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