Tablet PC Program reaches 100th day milestone

The McNicholas Tablet PC Program has officially reached its 100 day milestone. With 100% of freshmen and 91% of sophomores using tablets, both students and teachers are still getting used to the transition from books to computers, but over these first 100 days, students have become more accustomed to learning in a new way.

Students are accessing their textbooks online, taking notes using OneNote, and using online databases.  They also have constant access to Edline and email.

“The tablets were a little intimidating at first, but I like them because there is more available for the students on the tablets,” religion teacher Mrs. Paula Yerke said. Yerke also said she uses almost no paper compared to her other classes without tablets.

Spanish teacher Mr. Kyle Jepson likes how flexible the tablets are. “I can instantly go from a writing activity to a listening activity to a reading activity. With the books it was more challenging as we had to go from the textbook to using the CD player to getting out notebooks, etc.,” Jepson said.

The Tablet PC Program has experienced a few growing pains, as expected, but Director of Technology Mr. Andy Ey and Director of Educational Technology Mr. Adam Neimes have been working around the clock to troubleshoot problems. “The first few weeks we had trouble connecting to the wireless network,” Niemes said, but the problem was fixed by updating the software on the wireless access points located around the building.

Niemes works with 12 students who help run the Tablet PC Helpdesk as part of their Advanced Computer Technology course. These students are also earning their A+ certification. “We have learned how to reimage, replace the hard drive, and fix problems with Dyno and OneNote,” junior Brett Rossman said.

Religion teacher Mr. Sam Roflow has learned to encourage his students to swivel their screens and lay them flat during class so that they do not act as a barrier between him and the students.

Fewer books, lighter backpacks, and homework completed online are a few things students love about the tablets. With daily use, some students even have trouble remembering life without it.

“The tablets are so much more convenient than books, and I use mine as my main computer [even at home],” freshman Trevor Lynd said.

Teachers and students will continue to learn new ways of using the tablets and to train on new software. “We are hoping to have the teachers involved in some kind of training about every two weeks and we have 17 teachers scheduled to attend the 1-to-1 tablet conference at Cincinnati Country Day this February and April,” Ey said. “Eventually we might go to a pad-type tablet, but the tablets are definitely around to stay,” he added.

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