The International Academy is known for its rigorous course requirements. Over 1,300 students are enrolled across 3 campuses in Michigan: Troy, White Lake and Bloomfield Hills. Each student is required to take four years each of foreign language, history, math, science, and a total of six international baccalaureate courses, which culminate in an International Baccalaureate Diploma for many of our graduates. The International Academy prides itself on having many of the most gifted, hard-working students, with a mean ACT score of 29.4 compared to a statewide mean of 20.1. US News & World Report has ranked the International Academy as the number one high school in Michigan, with a 2013 diploma acquisition rate of 96%.
with a diploma rate of 96%!
In our curriculum we leverage collaborative web-based educational software to allow for better communication between teachers, students, and specific classes. However, this mix proved to be cumbersome when many students began to bring their own devices to take notes and accomplish tasks, turning the computer lab into a secondary resource and splitting classes between students who could accomplish tasks in class with their own devices and students who had to go to the computer lab to accomplish the same tasks. This led to an inefficient use of class time that didn’t allow for a harmonious mix between learning and technology.
Through the recommendation of a student, we ordered a trial fleet of 15 Samsung Chromebooks to be tested by students. Students who wanted to test the chromebooks had to compete by submitting an essay as to why they should be chosen to test the devices. The students published testing notes and their thoughts of the Chromebooks on a blog that they created.
The positive reactions by the students led International Academy to purchase Chromebooks vs iPads, to fill the gap in the schools’ technology initiatives. The students found that the Chromebooks offered a great option for education because they fit their needs, including fast start-up time, portability, battery life, light-weight, and a keyboard.
One student who tested the Chromebooks wrote,
“Overall, I think the Chromebooks are a great addition to our school. They are lightweight and, provided that one has internet access, they are very useful.”
The Chromebooks can now be signed out by students who don’t bring their own device to school so that they can easily access materials and work in class. Teachers can also reserve a cart of Chromebooks for specific times and classes, allowing them to lead a class without needing to go to the computer lab to access online materials. The Chromebooks allow the teachers and students to maximize the time that they spend learning while minimizing the time spent making technology actually work.
Mean ACT score of 29.4 compared to a statewide mean of 20.1
Chromebooks fill the technology gap at International Academy’s Okma campus, allowing for a 1:1 style curriculum without the need for every student to own a personal device. This has allowed teachers to spend less time trying to figure out how to work with a mixed technology group while maximizing the time students can spend working on their devices. Chromebooks have created a better work environment for students and teachers and simplified the integration of technology into the classroom.