This year all RePublic scholars will be assigned their own Chromebook laptop for use in school. Our high schoolers will be able to bring their laptops home.
What will this mean for scholars and families?
After diving into the new Tennessee Common Core implementation (we are set to take Common Core aligned tests through adaptive software programs this year) and building out our coding program, we’ve realized that the student experience will be dramatically improved if each has access to a laptop.
A New Universe of Knowledge: With a 1-to-1 student to computer ratio, our scholars will now have consistent access to the explosion of high quality online resources, such as Khan Academy, Coursera, and edX. Our high schoolers will complete college coursework online outside of their regular class schedule, and they will also take the Gates Big History Project curriculum.
Differentiation: These resources all share the common strength of high quality differentiation -- meaning students of different ability levels will have access to strong practice and reinforcement. We will also utilize literacy tools such as ThinkCERCA and Newsela, which allow for quick adjustments of the reading level of texts to allow all students to access the material (even more important for schools like ours that backfill for all grade levels).
More Custom Software for Schools: As we've outlined in our Manifesto, RePublic is building a suite of software to solve some of education's most intractable problems. Moving to 1-to-1 will accelerate and amplify the impact of these solutions-- showing the power of uniform adoption of more efficient and effective tools.
Enhance Teaching: These computers will not be replacements for our amazing teachers, who are more important than ever. However, these tools will give our teachers more freedom to leverage 21st Century tools in their daily lessons. Picture a Biology teacher giving students the ability to manipulate a 3D model of DNA, or a writing teacher giving quick and efficient (even real-time) feedback on student papers.
Enhance Digital Literacy: In a recent survey, less than half of our families report having consistent Internet and computer access at home. In building a computer science center (more on this in a few weeks) and giving our high school scholars full freedom to use and take their laptops anywhere, we are leveling the playing field. More importantly, at RePublic, all scholars will learn to code during middle and high school -- and having consistent computer access will augment our scholars' ability to create software.
As we embark on this new school year, we are excited to utilize this new and universal computer access to find innovative ways to unlock our students' intellectual and creative potential.