Students in Hardwick(Hardwick, VT) Sixth grade students at Hardwick Elementary classrooms are getting more connected with their teachers when it comes to organizing their homework and getting up to speed on classwork when absent. Through the e-Vermont initiative, Hardwick Elementary School was able to improve their wireless Internet connection. Additionally, each sixth grade student received a Dell netbook for the school year, achieving a 1:1 computing ratio. It has been an exciting program for the students, enabling them to work on projects at school with their own computer, and providing them a level of personalization not possible when working in computer labs. It has also allowed teachers to take initiative on assignment organization and student responsibility. One of the cooperating teachers, Michael Noyes, commented, “It was nice to have the computers for consistency. I was able to assign [the class] things that could be done on them – no excuses from students.” Could this mean the end of that persistent “homework-eating” dog?

To make sure students stay on top of their personal planning, each teacher created a classroom website that allows them (and their parents) to keep track of assignments, deadlines, and events via an organized Google calendar. Lesson plans and content can also be shared between teachers, complete with resources or links when relevant. One benefit of each student having a school netbook that can be brought home is that they are all able to maintain a digital connection with their teachers and their classmates outside of school. While new technology is a valuable and exciting educational resource, it can be initially overwhelming and confusing for both teachers and students without the proper training. This much-needed weekly technology training was provided by Digital Wish, the e-Vermont classroom connection, where students learned how to use the computers, Web 2.0 applications, and the Internet responsibly and competently. In conjunction with the Digital Wish training, the availability of resources and improved capacity for digital communication (made possible by the e-Vermont funding) allowed for a smooth transition into a more technology rich classroom learning environment.