WEST NEWBURY — The Pentucket Regional School District has embraced the global digital age, thanks to a partnership between its technology department and an education foundation established to support the schools.
Jeannie Frash, technology boss for Pentucket, reports that this year her team is moving ahead with a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) initiative that was piloted with funds from the Pentucket Education Foundation last fall.
The initiative is aimed at engaging and empowering student achievement and extending learning beyond the classroom by harnessing the natural affinity this generation of learners has for their iPods, laptops, netbooks and smartphones.
Over the summer the technology department upgraded the network system, servers, online services and classroom equipment, as well as implemented two new virtual desktop labs.
These labs compliment the BYOD program and provide new educational opportunities for students, said Frash. They are “more reliable, have better performance and are extremely flexible in the types of instructional programs that can be offered, all the while realizing huge energy and cost savings for the district.”
Frash notes that already this year many of the faculty in the six Pentucket schools have registered their own wireless devices for use in their classrooms and high-schoolers are now registering their hand-held devices as well.
“We are laying the groundwork for the integration of BYOD in the middle and elementary schools for students,” Frash said.
Students and teachers are now able to connect to a secure wireless network at the high school. With teacher approval, students may use their own WiFi devices to access the Internet and collaborate with other students.
“Our goal is to increase availability of the technology our students need to succeed and to open the door for innovative learning methods. This is an exciting first step and the possibilities for educational benefits are endless,” said Frash.