BCPS to use EliteBook© dual learning tool for S.T.A.T. digital conversion

HP “two-in-one” device doubles as laptop or tablet for students, staff

TOWSON, MD. – Baltimore County Public Schools will use the HP EliteBook© Revolve 810 G2 as its learning tool of choice to begin the pilot phase of the BCPS system-wide conversion to a 1:1 digital learning environment known as Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow (S.T.A.T.).

Approval of the device is the next step in S.T.A.T., a curriculum-based initiative to transform every BCPS classroom into a digital learning environment. As part of the initiative, every child will use the EliteBook©, a combination laptop computer / tablet, as an interactive, primary instructional resource.

“As we prepare for the first year of S.T.A.T., adoption of the EliteBook© provides students with a powerful and unlimited learning tool,” said BCPS Superintendent Dallas Dance. “It is an important part of the way the first year will look and feel at our Lighthouse Schools, but it is not the only part. The device gives children a flexible platform to access and maximize digital instruction and learning, and we are excited to see how easily and eagerly they will adapt. As we begin this initiative, the EliteBook© provides a familiar and comfortable way for them to grow as learners.”

The Board of Education of Baltimore County today authorized the next phase of the S.T.A.T. initiative. Through a four-year lease program, BCPS will work with Daly Computers, Inc., of Clarksburg, Md., to provide about 120,000 of the two-in-one devices.  The superintendent is recommending approval of the $205 million contract authority.

In the S.T.A.T. pilot phase, all BCPS instructional staff will receive one of the devices by the end of the 2013-2014 school year. In August, students in grades 1-3 at 10 “Lighthouse Schools” throughout the county will be assigned EliteBooks© to use.

BCPS is among the largest of the nation’s school systems to begin moving toward a digital classroom. Its S.T.A.T. initiative began last spring, when Dr. Dance announced the district’s goal to move to a 1:1 learning platform for all students, meaning that every child would have a digital learning device through which to learn.

On Tuesday, Dr. Dance again emphasized that both rigorous curriculum and teacher training will anchor the S.T.A.T. initiative. “The devices themselves are really just the tools we have chosen to use to support the core of the program, which centers on the curriculum,” he said. “Technology gives educators great opportunities to expand and improve instruction, but the curriculum we are adapting and the work we’ll do to prepare teachers will be the keys to ensuring that S.T.A.T. is successful.”

BCPS Chief Academic Officer Verletta White said the initiative is designed to connect instruction directly with students by using platforms and resources that students know and understand well.

“While we as adults may see using an EliteBook© in the classroom as foreign, our students are 21st century learners,” she said. “For them, using digital technology to learn in school is second-nature, which can be compared to how their parents and grandparents used paper, pencils, and textbooks.”

According to the Board-approved contract authority, the program is designed to “engage students with tools that are intuitive to them, differentiate instruction, and provide timely feedback to support more rigorous demands.”

Anticipation is growing among the Lighthouse Schools slated to begin the initiative later this year.

“We are excited that students will soon be learning in an environment that simulates the technology-rich environment in which they live every day,” said Doug Elmendorf, principal at Chase Elementary School. “This digital environment will be important in preparing our students with the skills they need to be successful in life. Through digital learning, they will be able to go beyond the classroom as they become globally competitive citizens in an increasingly complex society.”

Added Karen Harris, principal at Fort Garrison Elementary School, “Both my staff and my parent community are so excited about what the future holds for their students as we move towards the digital conversion as a Lighthouse School.  The teachers are looking forward to learning how to more actively engage all of their students using 1:1 technology.”