Teacher says one-to-one laptops are changing the game in her classroom

Teacher says one-to-one laptops are changing the game in her classroom

RICHLAND, Wash. -- For many of us, grade school involved chalkboards and notepads, but today, classrooms look far different with growing technology.

“I'm probably an old schooler," said Sarah McGrath, fifth grade teacher at Marcus Whitman Elementary. “Like pen and paper, never in a million years did I think I would be teaching in a classroom where every child has a computer.”

Fifth graders at Marcus Whitman Elementary solve math equations in their own way--each on their personal laptop.

“It's changed the way that we teach, it's changed the game, it's changed the playing field,” McGrath said.

This year is the first these students have a one-to-one, person-to-laptop ratio.

“I felt really happy because I never had a Chromebook at home,” fifth grader Josiah Robles said.

McGrath said they use the computers in every subject--supplementing each curriculum.

“You can put kids where their hurdle was writing with a pen and pencil, and put them with a Chromebook and have them write,” McGrath said. “And what they produce is beautiful.”

Writing and research aren't the only areas McGrath said she's seeing improvements. Laptops level the playing field for kids who don't have computers or Wi-Fi at home.

“In time, that huge gap we've seen will be far less and less of a gap,” she said.

McGrath said her class knows they are lucky.

“I'm very quick to remind them how blessed they are, and that not all kids have this in their classrooms,” McGrath said.

And as technology grows and becomes an increasingly important skill, Ms. McGrath’s fifth grade class will have opportunities at their fingertips.

“It's amazing,” she said. “It's just really cool because I feel like we're on the cusp of something really big.”

In the Richland School District, second through fifth grade have one-to-one Chromebooks. And the middle school students can take the laptops home to help with their homework.

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