Middle schoolers provided with laptops

Sam Fleming, Chicago Life Editor

On a Monday morning, before school begins, the middle school hallway is lined with glowing Apple logos as the top of pre-teen students’ heads peek over the lids of their laptops. The hallway is abuzz as students scramble  to finish last-minute assignments or laugh together at YouTube videos.

Beginning this quarter, middle schoolers were provided with MacBook Air laptops that they can take home throughout the school year. The laptops are a new addition to the middle school, and according to Ryan Allen, middle school dean of students, a much needed one.

Yanni Simmons
HARD AT WORK. Middle schoolers in Sam Nekrosius’s work on their laptops during humanities.

“We had come to the point where the middle school had more computers than students,” Mr. Allen said. “We would have a computer cart for science and a cart for humanities, which wasn’t an efficient use of time or money.”

Mr. Allen was part of the committee of teachers, staff and administrators who helped implement the new laptop policy. So far, it has been a success with both students and teachers slowly welcoming the change.

The laptops are already challenging teachers to develop new ways of utilizing technology in the classroom.

“They have already changed how we address grammar,” sixth grade teacher Kelly Storm said. “We have a new program that allows students to get extra grammar help and practice outside of the classroom.”

The group happiest about the change seems to be the students.

“A lot of people have siblings at home who get priority over the computer,” eighth grader Yuan Zhuang said. “But now with these laptops it is much easier to access school work.”

Other students enjoy having the freedom to do their work during long car rides or while at sports practice.

Although there is currently no plan to give laptops to high schoolers, according to the Lab IS staff, high school administrators are keeping a close eye on the example the middle school is setting.