TECHNOLOGY

At Holland Christian, technology has become a critical tool in equipping students to transform their world for Jesus Christ. After researching best practices in the area of technology and studying the way that today’s student learns best, the leadership and faculty at Holland Christian developed the 1:1 Laptop Initiative. The goals of the program include equipping students with the latest technology skills and teaching them discernment and the ethical use of technology. Another important goal is to model current best practices in education by differentiating instruction, developing anytime anywhere learning, widening community and communication, and developing life-long learners. As a Christian School, the faculty at Holland Christian is committed to developing these goals to equip the next generation to transform the world for Jesus Christ.

The 1:1 Laptop Program was piloted in 2005-2006 with 140 6th graders. After great success and tremendous encouragement from parents, the program grew by one to two grades per year until it was fully implemented in 6th-12th grade in 2009. For the 2015-2016 school year more than 1,400 students in 5th-12th grade at Holland Christian and Zeeland Christian Schools were equipped with their own laptop computer.

Equipping teachers with hands-on training is an important piece of the 1:1 Program. In order to model best practices, the faculty at Holland Christian participate in a variety of training sessions. One type of training is “Tech Coaching.” TeacherS set technology integration goals for the year and work together to plan and design lessons for students that integrate technology seamlessly into their curriculum. The intent is to introduce new technology to teachers at their own individual pace, creating “just in time” learning rather than “just in case.” The Technology Integration Specialists also meet with grade level teams and departments to implement technology tools for their specific needs. Teachers receive additional training and support with after school training sessions. At these sessions teachers are introduced to new ideas in the area of technology. If a teacher is interested in more in-depth training they then meet with their Technology Integration faculty for additional information and training.

Technology Goals

  • Goal I: Each student, guided by a teacher, will create a positive digital footprint to impact the world for Jesus Christ.
  • Goal II: Each learning environment will be personalized to the needs and God given talents of the students.
  • Goal III: Each student, teacher, and administrator will connect, communicate, and collaborate with the greater community and the world consistently.

/ Apple Distinguished Since 2010

Holland Christian Schools has been named an Apple Distinguished School and/or Program since 2010. Most recently it has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program for 2015–2017 for its K-12 1:1 program that puts Apple devices in the hands of each student. At Holland Christian Schools, students in grades K-4 each have access to an iPad, and 5th-12th grade students each receive a Macbook Air or a Macbook Pro.

The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that meet criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate a clear vision of exemplary learning environments.

The selection of Holland Christian Schools as an Apple Distinguished Program highlights the system’s success as an innovative and compelling learning environment that engages students and provides tangible evidence of academic accomplishment. Whether conducting experiments for the Holland area, energy initiatives or Skyping with mission workers around the world or exploring animal habitats through virtual tours, the intentional incorporation of technology has allowed our teachers to expand the walls of their classrooms, allowing students to access information, experts, and experiences that enrich and deepen their learning.

We are continuously growing and sharing our successes both in the classroom and within the expanded education community.

“The technology classes were a huge advantage at [college]. I still use all the programs and skills that I learned and continue to learn things about technology.”

-GINA NYKAMP ’10

/ Frequently Asked Questions

1:1 Program Overview

When Did This Program Begin?

We began planning during the 2004-2005 school year and piloted the program in 6th grade in 2005-2006. Subsequent grades were phased in over the next three years. The program was fully implemented in grades 6-12 by the 2008-2009 school year.

How many students are in your district and how many devices do you have?

1,700 students prek-12; 2,000 devices, of which about 1,500 are Apple laptops.

Do you have block scheduling which allows for more classroom time for laptop start up/shut down?

There is modified block scheduling at the middle school and high school. Computer startup and shutdown is minimal as students keep laptops on most of the time so they are up and running in seconds and shutting down is just closing the screen.

Do you have computer classes at the middle school level in addition to the integration that is occurring in the classroom?

In 6th grade it is very important to lay a good foundation for use of the 1:1 laptop program. 6th grade students participate in lessons for several weeks at the beginning of the year to prepare them for laptop use. 7th and 8th grade students participate in 9 week computer classes. In these grades, classes are transitioning from skill-based lessons to more knowledge-based or process-based lessons.

You seem to have a lot of things for parents to use: online conference scheduling, PowerSchool, homework online, etc. Are parents required to attend an orientation every year to learn how to access these things?

We have two parent orientations at the beginning of the year for 6th grade parents: one for laptops and one for school. We cover these topics at the orientations.

Funding

How was the laptop program funded initially?

Donors helped with initial capital outlay.

Do parents now cover the cost along with tuition? What is the approximate cost to them each year?

Parents cover a portion of the laptop cost through an annual rental fee. Students pay $175/year plus $15 for insurance with a $200 deductible.

How are students with financial aid supported in renting a laptop?

The fees are reduced due to the school’s financial aid program.

Do students keep the same laptop for a set number of years?

Students keep the same laptop from 7th-9th grades. In 10th grade they get a new one that lasts from 10th-12thgrades. The “ownership” piece is very important to keeping the laptops in good shape. For 5th and 6th grades, students get used laptops after the 9th and 12th graders are done with them.

Usage & Equipment

Do students carry laptops home nightly?

Yes, in grades 6-12 each student has a laptop to take home each night. Students hand them in at the end of the school year so we can refresh the software and then they get the same laptop back in the fall when school starts.

Can students access their work remotely?

Students have all of their documents on their laptops. We have tools in place so they can collaborate online: Google Apps, Moodle, and Blog Servers.

Are the students allowed to download and install software at home? How do you manage this if you do?

No, this is not an option. A password is required to install software on the laptops.

Education

What are some common online tools that are used in the classroom?

Evernote is our e-portfolio space for storing student work from year to year. Google Apps allow for real time teacher feedback and online collaboration with fellow students. Moodle is a tool for teacher and student communication. It provides a great place for discussion and collaboration and allows students to submit information electronically.

What types of activities are you able to do because of the 1:1 technology program?

Examples include:
-Podcasts
-Skype connections
-Wiki collaborations
-Digital portfolio work
-Foreign Language audio assignments
-Quick checks on understanding in class
-Better writing and editing – quicker feedback
-Added math foundation through Aleks math
-The ability to have an open ended projects
-Students programming games on their own
-Students developing sketchup designs on their own
-Create quick video demos of understanding

Technical Questions

Do you use a secured wireless environment?

Yes.

Do you retain the laptop during the summer for imaging/tech updates?

Yes, this is a big summer project for our tech team!