The Power of One

Program changes to redefine technology at PHS

Sophomore Tyson Hopper learns how to construct a resume.

When students arrived back at school this year, they found lots of changes. Some of the new changes were made to the office design, dress code, new teacher positions and even new personal emails for students to use.

However, personal student emails are just the beginning of the technology advancement at PHS. Next year, the classrooms are looking to become even more high tech with a One to One student technology program.

“One to One just means one computer for every one student,” said Assistant Principal Amanda Crews.

The One to One program would mean every student received a tablet or personal device for use in the classroom. Instead of carrying around heavy books, all books would be downloaded on a device.

“We are really looking into starting this as soon as next year,” said Crews. “Before we can start this, we have to get security issues resolved.”

Just like computers at school, tablets would need to have certain blocks on websites, and they would need to be able to be monitored to ensure students are doing appropriate work to be doing during class.

“I would really like to begin this program as soon as possible,” said Principal Todd Hitchcock.

Another issue with the tablets to be resolved would be both student and teacher use. Since books would be on tablets, there would also be more work that would need to be submitted to teachers online. However, not everyone has internet access outside of school!

“Some students do not have internet at home,” said Crews. “For those who do not, data is an option, but sometimes it is also not available to some people in areas with weak signal.”
Before the school completely switches over to tablets, there may be a trial with only a few grade levels. Last year, Crawford County High School started a One to One program with their senior class.

Another issue with switching over to a more technologically advanced school is the cost. Currently, the French Lick Resort and Casino pays for textbooks in the Orange County school systems.

“We are currently discussing this issue with the Supporting Organization that funds the textbook fee payments. As of now there has been no official determination as to what electronic methods might be observed in the future, so their decision is yet to be made,” said Orange County Community Foundation Executive Director Imojean Dedrick. “The Supporting Organization will do whatever they can to assist. Further county-wide discussions will be held with all three schools administration to determine the best avenue for the students.”

Before all students can be on the internet at the same time, the schools wireless infrastructure will have to be upgraded.

If all 750 students were on the internet at the same time, the current internet structure would crash.

“If we use iPads, we are looking at around $500-$600 per student.” said Hitchcock. “If we use Chromebooks, they would $200-$300 per student.”

The idea right now is that students would not be required to pay for their tablet up front. Students would pay a rental fee for tablets. The student would receive the tablet for use during the school year and would not have to pay anything on the tablet unless it was broken. Just like textbooks, the student would be required to pay any costs to replace it. People who already own iPads or Chromebooks would more than likely still need a school-sponsored tablet.

“If students used their own tablet then the school would have no way to manage it to make sure they were doing what they were supposed to during the school day,” said Hitchcock.
Although the One to One program seems like a difficult thing to accomplish, PHS has already taken multiple steps to get technology in the hands of all students.

“Budgeting for such an initiative is a difficult task but we are on track to begin the final stages of planning and then purchasing digital devices in five to seven months,” said Superintendent Casey Brewster. “There will be some cost passed on to parents and students but it is expected to be less than ten percent of the actual cost of the device per year.”

While the details of the program are still being worked out, stduents can expect more changes to come. If everything goes well, the One to One should be put into affect sometime next year.

Story By Bailey Rankin
Photo by Lily Thompson