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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, May. 19, 2017 2 months ago

Glenridge and Maitland middle school students will receive computers August 2018

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All middle schools in Orange County will join to the LaunchED program.
by: Tim Freed Staff Writer

Technology is making its way into Winter Park classrooms — and it’s changing the way students learn.

Last year, Orange County Public Schools added Winter Park High School and Edgewater High School into its LaunchED program, through which each student receives a laptop/tablet to complete assignments, type notes and take tests.

And more Winter Park classrooms are on the horizon for the LaunchED program. All middle schools — including Glenridge Middle School and Maitland Middle School — will join in August 2018.

“It’s been a great thing for our kids,” Winter Park High School Principal Tim Smith said. “Every kid has a laptop, and every one of our students has benefited from that. It creates access and the ability to share a lot of information too.

“For example, there’s a program where a teacher can ask questions, students answer the multiple-choice questions, and they get immediate feedback on the percentage of students getting the right answer,” he said. “It’s great feedback for the student and the teacher to see how well we’re doing.”

The shift to give every student a laptop has been in the works since 2012, OCPS Director of Digital Curriculum and Instructional Design Mariel Milano said. Orange County chose to make the transition to the program because of the emergence of digital textbooks and online testing.

“We know that kids test better the way that they’re taught,” Milano said. “We also knew that kids needed these skills to be workforce-ready.”

Next year, high schools such as Winter Park and Edgewater will have even more opportunities to give personalized assignments based on students’ needs.

“The idea is that the kids might watch the lecture, but every student has a different packet based on their assessment needs,” Milano said. “The independent work is different.”

Audubon Park Elementary launched its LaunchED transition in 2014. There, students in the third, fourth and fifth grade are allowed to bring electronic devices from home. At that level of schooling, students still use paper and textbooks for the most part but will use their devices about 25% of the time in class. In middle school, that jumps to 50% and finally to 75% in high school.

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