We are very excited about our one-to-one Tablet PC program we have implemented in the High School. We believe that this is a transformational change in the educational experience at PCA, which will provide a richer learning opportunity for our students as well as better prepare them for the demands of college and career. We began implementation of the one-to-one Tablet PC program in 2010 with 9th and 10th grades and and now have tablets in place in 9th through 12th grades.
PCA researched and investigated technology in education for over 2 years in an effort to find the best utilization of technology to integrate into the learning process. You have probably read in the media about many of the technology options utilized in education – laptops, interactive clickers, smartboards and more. Too often however, this technology is just an “add-on” in the educational process and therefore is not maximally utilized to achieve the greatest benefit for the student on a consistent basis. We believe we have put together a fully integrated technology program that can transform the educational process your child receives. We would like to share with you some of our thinking that led us to implement a one-to-one Tablet PC program for your children.
“We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist…using technologies that haven’t been invented…in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.” Richard Riley, former Secretary of Education.
Our students are digital natives, born into the world of electronic information. The world in which they will work is increasingly technology-driven and changing at an exponential rate. We must continue to adapt our education model to meet the current and future needs of our students and the world if we are seeking to produce Christian leaders that can impact this world. The ability to use technology as a tool to compile, organize, analyze and present information is increasingly important at college and in the workplace. Additionally, since information and technology is changing so rapidly, there is a growing national concern that just teaching content knowledge of core subjects is not nearly enough. In addition to teaching content knowledge, we must train our students to use technology for these purposes since much of their work life will be spent utilizing information that may not have existed in the last 10 years and may not even exist today. Appropriate technology fully integrated into the educational process is shown to engage students more fully and increase their success, not only in content knowledge but also in the increasingly important 21st Century Learning Skills, including collaboration, communication and critical thinking.
There are many technology options being utilized in education (laptops, “smartboards” and interactive clickers for example) that do not have data-based research showing a positive impact on the educational experience. Conversely, Tablet PC’s have such research showing them to be an effective tool in education primarily due to “digital ink,” which is the most significant difference between a typical laptop and a Tablet PC. Digital ink is simply the ability to write electronically on the computer screen with a stylus. Digital ink permits handwritten annotations, gives the ability to draw diagrams or graphs, perform complex math problems or similar actions on the computer, none of which is possible with a standard laptop. We have provided Tablet PCs and training to all high school teachers for their use in the classroom. We are continually reviewing and expanding this program’s use in all curriculum areas. Many of the teachers are utilizing the Tablet PC in their classroom presentations and report increased interest from the students when used.
In addition, the Tablet PC program will help prepare our students for the technology they may well face at the next level. Tablet PCs have become required equipment for many technical degrees at colleges nationwide, including Notre Dame, Louisville, Purdue, Penn State, Duke, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Texas and Texas A&M.
We strongly believe that the Tablet PC program will be transformational for the educational experience at PCA and are excited about its impact upon our students. Our excitement was echoed by some parents of current 8th and 9th grade parents meeting in focus groups. We hope that you will see the potential benefits of this program and the need to better equip our students for their future.
Obviously, there is a cost associated with this program. We have worked very hard in our review of this program and in our negotiations with hardware and software providers in an effort to minimize the cost to our families. The cost to each student for the program is an annual Technology Fee of $700, including the Tablet PC your student will use continually through high school. The Technology Fee also covers numerous items necessary for the program beyond the Tablet PC each student will receive. If you have any questions about the tablet program, we invite you to contact the Technology Department at 817-460-3315.
Thank you for choosing PCA as your partner in your child’s education.