Students at three CMSD high schools are lending their expertise to the District's evaluation of various laptop computers and tablets for possible future purchases.
The students at the Cleveland High School for Digital Arts, PACT
(Problem-based Academy of Critical Thinking) and E³Agle Academy
have been trying out each of the units and recording their observations on matters such as speed, size, weight and the clarity of images on the screen.
CMSD Executive Director of Instructional Technology Tom Miller said the student involvement is consistent with the goals of The Cleveland Plan to involve students in the District's decisions. He said it also just makes good sense.
"That's the whole idea, really -- to get the students' input because they and their peers will be the ones using the equipment on a day-to-day basis," Miller said. "We're very excited about the way that they are approaching this, the students and their teachers.
Miller said that his department is using the feedback from the students as a "base for recommendations for all schools to purchase laptops or tablets" and that Digital Arts, PACT and E³agle would use the information to make their own purchases.
Digital Arts instructor Carrie Ciofani (see photo) handed out devices to a group of students before spring break and reminded them to be attentive to the various aspects to be tested.
"You're going to be trying out as many as possible, so it doesn't matter which one you get first," she said as students clamored for one model over another.
The group of eight students, which has dubbed itself the "Hug Club" put together a presentation on their preliminary findings after a number of students tested each device for three days.
Miller complimented Ciofani for holding a session with parents to talk about the evaluations.
"I’m very impressed with the research they completed and the data they collected from their fellow students, teachers and parents," Miller said. "I’m looking forward to their analysis of the data and recommendations for their 2015-16 devices."
He said the student involvement was a "wonderful teachable moment about deadlines, timelines and proactive planning."
The recommendations will be used by the District when considering future computer purchases and will be shared with several CMSD high schools like Digital Arts that have grant money to buy equipment.
The students at Digital Arts were most impressed initially with the Surface Pro, a Microsoft tablet. They also liked the flexibility and touch screen of the Yoga11e tablet but said the battery life didn't last long enough for them.
The HP Pro 10 tablet is durable but also is less portable because "the keyboard has to be removed for the device to be flat," the students said. They said the Dell Latitude 15 3000 was fast but probably too large for students to carry around comfortably.