Beyond FCPS, area counties try new tech

Advertisement

As it becomes increasingly common for students to do almost all of their homework, and a good portion of their class work, online and on computers, schools across the nation and in Fairfax County are pushing forward new rules and initiatives to upgrade technology.

Many schools have signed contracts with the likes of Apple and Microsoft to provide their students with deeply discounted and even free software and hardware. FCPS has instituted its BYOD policy, in order to strengthen the bridge between education and technology and encourage students to augment their learning with the latest advancements in tech.

FCPS has rolled out an updated Bring Your Own Device policy, allowing any student to register their internet-capable device in seconds.

While some students are worried about their internet privacy being infringed, as administration will now have the ability to monitor all students’ internet traffic, most students and teachers are supportive of the idea.

“I think engaging students through tech can be a great way to learn,” economics and history teacher Richard Hoppock said.

Hoppock’s economics class is one of many that has embraced the flipped classroom model, where students spend time learning material at home and online through the use of instructional videos and interactive activities.

In addition, FCPS has a program, FCPS@Home, which allows students to get software like Microsoft Office and Windows 8 for free.

“The program is a nice initiative on FCPS’ part,” senior Andrew Nguyen said. “I take advantage of it to save a lot of money on MS Office.”
On the hardware side of things, students have enjoyed the benefits of smart boards and new computers for many years.

“I think we’re pretty well-equipped,” senior Joseph Spitek said. “We have new computers; we have things like Macs for the art classes. Our laptops are kind of old, though.”

In Virginia, Henrico County Public Schools has led the way in providing free technology to students, providing almost 12,000 laptops to students in exchange for a $50 insurance fee to cover theft and damage, reported Scholastic News. Montgomery County in Maryland has also started the deployment of more than 40,000 laptops and tablets to students and teachers in all grades, said a county spokesperson in a public announcement in early 2014.

MCPS has entered into contracts with various companies to get the devices cheaply, with the end goal being the establishment of MCPS Curriculum 2.0, a fully digital educational curriculum that allows for “anywhere, anytime access” to student resources.

These schools are amongst dozens across the nations providing students with laptops, tablets and software in order to bring their pupils up-to-date with changes in technology.