EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - The traditional back-to-school supply frenzy will slowly be fading out as this September, as every East Brunswick High School student will be receiving a Lenovo ThinkPad to use during the school year. The thin notebook computer will replace the use of notebooks and binders for some students, who will have the ability to organize their notes and class material on the personal laptops.
The move was part of a larger plan called “2020 Vision,” a five-year plan that was started in 2015-16. Last Spring, EBHS staff already received ThinkPads to get accustomed to the new technology.
The long-term goal is to extend laptop usage to students at Churchill Junior High School, which will also make use of existing Chromebooks that were previously carted around the high school for use in different classes. Now, students will transport their own laptops between school and home each day.
The take-home laptops inevitably change students’ level of connectivity. Even on snow days, they will be able to complete work from home. Dr. Vinella, Principal of East Brunswick High School, says, “Students will have equal access to course resources not just while in class but outside of the school day as well. It will also help to provide personalized learning tailored to the individual needs of each and every student.”
Additionally, Canvas, a learning management system that is used by more than 3,000 universities including Rutgers and Middlesex County College, is replacing the use of G Suite at the high school. G Suite, a Google-owned brand of apps that includes Gmail, Classroom, Drive, and Docs, was previously students’ main source of classwork and assignments. However, Canvas is more similar to the kind of software students will interact with after they graduate, and the district is making the switch with college preparation in mind.
“It will be a ‘one stop shop’ for all communication and materials for all classes a student has,” says Dr. Vinella. “It will help to enhance teaching and learning to meet the needs of all learners.”