Laptop pilot kicks off high school 1:1 program

By Alexis Cunningham

Senior Dezire Diaz uses her 1:1 laptop during homeroom to work on her Open Campus course.
Senior Dezire Diaz uses her 1:1 laptop during homeroom to work on her Open Campus course.

Penn Manor High School launched the pilot of the 1:1 program this past September. Laptops were issued to students taking an Open Campus class in the fall semester. The pilot is a test run prior to the school-wide implementation of the 1:1 laptop program.

According to Charlie Reisinger, head of Penn Manor’s technology department, the switch is still on schedule to happen in January of this coming year.

“We are tremendously pleased with the 1:1 pilot thus far; The laptops have demonstrated a good balance of cost and capability,” said Reisinger.

The school board policy that explains student’s use, rights, and responsibilities was approved at the school board meeting August 19. According to the policy, the laptops are the property of Penn Manor School District, but are the student’s responsibility from the time the laptop is given out until it is returned to the district at the end of the school year.

The laptops can be accessed remotely if one is stolen or missing or if there are any technical problems. Employees are not allowed to access student files until the laptop is returned to the district or if there is reason to believe that the student is committing or participating in suspicious activity.

In the official contract, students must agree that the laptops are for academic use only. Students may not use the laptops in harmful ways that may threaten the welfare of someone else or the community. Students are also prohibited to promote any unlawful activities. Students may not update and change any hardware and/ or software unless approved by the technology staff first.

Students are expected to treat the laptops as if it was their own property. Students may not copy any copyrighted material for any reason and may not download any illegal software. However, students may download purchased music. Students should avoid viruses and scams and back up their information. The laptops are not to be at any sporting event or left unattended.

If the laptops are damaged, used for any non school purposes or any of the school rules are violated, the student may be punished.

According to the discipline section of the school board’s official 1:1 program’s laptop policy, punishments include the limitation or prohibition of the laptops permanently or temporarily and any cost is to be paid if the laptop is damaged or missing.

Students are encouraged to contact the technology department if support is needed. The 1:1 program has a number of students who are helping out with any of the laptop issues or support.

“The student help desk team has been a vital part of this program. They are doing an outstanding job with troubleshooting issues, preparing laptops, training peers and writing documentation,” said Reisinger.

“The computers function pretty well,” said Ryan Conner who uses the laptop for a Chinese class.

Open Campus student Kelly St. John said, “They (the laptops) are nice and light to carry around.”

Reisinger is pleased that the pilot has been going as expected. Reisinger states that the only significant change needed is to purchase more durable laptop cases for January’s switch.

“Overall, students are acting professionally and being respectful of the laptops… and having fun while they learn,” said Reisinger.