Chromebooks at MHS

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Angela Pillarella, Staff writer

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As the school year settles into its third month, MHS is getting used to a new way of working.

Personal Chromebooks have been introduced to grades 10-12, allowing teachers to build technology into their lesson plans. So, while the Google Classroom page is becoming slowly ingrained into the minds of both teachers and students, let’s see how we got here.

Dr. Matthew Joseph was kind enough to sit down with me and answer some questions about the integration of Chromebooks into the Milford Public School system.

First of all, it is important to recognize that getting every Milford Public Schools student a personal Chromebook was no easy task. In fact, the implementation had to be done in installments.

“We had rolled it out in three phases, so two school years ago, we had phase one, which was for third and fifth grade [in] the new Woodland building,” said Dr. Joseph. Phase two took place last school year during which Chromebooks were implemented in grades six through nine. Finally, “we added grades ten, eleven, [and] twelve for phase three.”

Students in Stacy Middle School and Milford High also had the opportunity to use Chromebooks on carts for one to two years beforehand, which Dr. Joseph noted as “a big advantage not only for the students, but for teachers.”

What was the most difficult part of this process?

“Creating the foundation of need… and, after that was at least kind of understood, it was creating a process to disseminate, track, organize, and maintain a fleet of 3,000 [Chromebooks]. So each year was a little more difficult… but we’re learning new things each step of the way” explained Dr. Joseph.

Milford High School’s principal, Mr. Otlin, was able to answer some questions about the Chromebook initiative specifically at the high school. He was able to provide insight into the utilization of this new tech. 

“We know that many high schools have successfully used Chromebooks to help make learning more engaging, rigorous, and collaborative, and we want to do the same for our students. In addition, the Chromebook program is an important part of our work to help prepare students for college academics. College-bound students need to be familiar with working in a ‘blended’ environment, as they will almost certainly be expected to do so in college” said Mr. Otlin. 

Technological proficiency is a must-have nowadays, and this is MHS’s way of preparing its students for their future.

One important question I wanted to end both interviews with was this: Going forward, what are your hopes for Chromebooks and students?

“I hope to see the Chromebooks so routine that we take them for granted. While they are novel today, I expect that they will become as indispensable as a notebook and pen” said Mr. Otlin.

Dr. Joseph has hopes “to increase student voice in learning. Now that you have the devices, tell us what you need to maximize your use.”

Truly, Chromebooks have changed the way both students and teachers work. As the year continues, Milford High School looks forward to using the Chromebooks to their utmost potential.

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