ROSELLE – When Roselle sixth grade students head home from school on Sept. 17, they’ll leave with more than just homework. They’ll have a brand new, free laptop in tow.
The Levano ThinkPad X100e laptop computers will be provided to every sixth grade student in Roselle this year courtesy of a $1.43 million grant distributed by the New Jersey Department of Education.
Known as the TALENT21 grant, it provides 500 free laptops to Roselle Public Schools over the next two years, enough for every sixth grade student and teacher. The laptops will remain with the students until they graduate high school or until they no longer function. They will be collected at the end of the school year every June and returned in September.
Funding for the grant comes from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the New Jersey Department of Education’s Enhancing Education Through Technology program.
“Being able to provide each one of our sixth grade students with a laptop is a tremendous resource for us,” said Roselle Supervisor of Special Programs Adrian Allotey, who applied for the grant. “It allows our teachers to integrate 21st century technology skills into their lessons and activities.”
Each laptop features WiFi connectivity. Students will have continuous access to the Internet during the school day via an updated wireless infrastructure at Grace Wilday Junior High School. They will provide students access to technology that will help prepare them for college and career readiness.
Sixth and seventh grade teachers will receive a Starboard interactive whiteboard along with their laptop. The Starboard, along with Google Apps Education Edition, will bring updated communication tools to the school. The Smart Board gives teachers a variety of options for displaying information in the classroom and for providing interactive lessons. Teachers will receive training and on-site assistance to make sure they have all of the tools necessary to effectively integrate the new technology into their classrooms.
“Professional development is critical to the success of the TALENT21 program,” Allotey said. “Partnering with Kean University’s Center of Innovative Education, GenYES and LoTi will provide a broad, collaborative learning environment for educators and students alike.”
Unlike many other professional development programs, TALENT21 provides specialized technology training directly to students. A group of 20 Grace Wilday students attended a technology “boot camp” this summer through the GenYES program. The students learned computer maintenance skills, technical support skills and problem solving skills for basic troubleshooting. They will meet once a week during the school year to review and update the school’s technology needs. They will also provide on-site technical support for teachers, administrators and fellow students throughout the year.
“These 20 students will learn valuable computer skills that will give them a tremendous leg up in higher education and in the job market,” Allotey said.
The TALENT21 program is designed to transform learning by fostering critical thinking, creativity and innovation in students, as well as prepare them to thrive in a global economy. As engaged digital learners, students are able to acquire and apply content knowledge and skills through active exploration, interaction and collaboration with others across the globe, through various applications of technology.
“We’re happy to welcome the TALENT21 program to Grace Wilday Junior High School,” said Interim Superintendent Joseph Martino. “By embracing the latest in education technology, we’re giving our students a competitive advantage at Grace Wilday.
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