Laptop Reflection By Josh


I am really excited about  using the laptops. I don’t have my personal laptop at home. I think that it is really cool that I will be using this for school. Before, at my old school, we used laptops sometimes, but they were not efficient and I did not learn anything from it. I hope to use the apps and software. I never expected that Durham Academy would give us this privilege. I am a little bit worried about how I will be able to handle the responsibilities that come with this privilege. Personally, I think iPads are cooler than laptops, but laptops are 100 times more useful because they are faster and have more space. Also I never use Apple laptops, so I will be able to explore the settings and apps more. I am extremely pleased about this privilege and hope everyone will someday be able to have laptops or some other technology to use for school.


After being able to take my laptop home for about two weeks I am going to be sad when I have to give up my laptop. My laptop is extremely useful for what I thought it would be useful for. I have used my laptop for homework especially, but I have also used it for things like printing papers, doing projects, and taking notes. I think that Durham Academy should definitely follow through on this laptop program and I hope nobody ruins it.

I have had some issues with my laptop. I am actually using a substitute computer because I have had kernel panics. The substitute computer had a kernel panic yesterday and I will have it looked at after class.Macbook Laptop

Laptop Pilot Reflection by Ethan G

I like the laptop pilot program. Evernote is a useful tool because it allows people to go to class and take notes, record what the teacher is saying, and take iSight notes. The laptop can be useful when we do homework online and for communicating with teachers. I think that it is great that more and more homework assignments are online. The computers allow us to explore the new world of technology, while at the same time getting our homework done faster and our backpack lighter. I also understand why some teachers don’t want technology in their class, it can prove a bad distraction and is not needed in some classes. In classes like math it is not needed for any purpose right now.

Caring for your Laptop is very important. You should never leave your laptop outside on the sidewalk. You should clean the screen at least once every other month and you should never give out personal information online.

How to Make a Note In Evernote By Gus


Evernote icon

     Today I will tell you how to make note in Evernote. It’s quite simple. Just click on the “New Note” at the top of the main page. After that you can name your note, for example “First note in Evernote.”  After you put in your title, you can type in whatever you want. Let’s just say I type in “This is my first note”. After you do that, you can create a notebook, and you can chose which notebook to put it in by clicking the tab right next to your title. You can create many different notebooks.  Let’s just put it in the notebook you might’ve just created. It is very, very useful to take notes in Evernote because you can make a to-do list using it. I use Evernote almost every day for putting in homework and other important activities. I hope this was useful to you, and I would like to have feedback about whether you like it or not.  

Laptops by Marta


A Laptop

Taking care of a laptop can be a big responsibility. You are responsible for keeping it clean, charged, and safe. It is a good cause to at least try to teach 6th graders about the incredible digital world, and the responsibility, and privileges that surround it. I personally think it is a great idea for teachers to allow children of the middle school to learn about the tech universe. This Pilot is, in my opinion, a great and educational, experiment and project.

Middle School Digital Device Project Has Begun – It is Anything But Typical


Last week we began the iPad phase of the Middle School Digital Device Project. (MSDDP) The week before we started the MacBook project. I am including some thoughts and reflections on the first couple weeks of the project.


Parents had received a letter written by the team of educators at DA that are helping to coordinate this “discovery” project. Below is some text from that letter. The project is only being done with 2 classes of 19 students each so it is not the entire grade level.

Durham Academy has believed that students need access to technology as part of a modern learning environment. We currently have around over 100 computers on campus and, for years, have supported students using their own laptops or other devices on campus. Durham Academy has investigated the idea of a 1 to 1 laptop program in the past and carefully considered how such a program would impact our families and learning community. Much has changed since we began this journey and we feel it is necessary now to go one step further. The school plans to test how consistent access to either an iPad or a MacBook would help our students and teachers fulfil their mission. Karl Schaefer, Julie Williams and Patti Donnelly have committed time to the planning and implementation of a pilot program. The goal of the MSDDP is to determine which device could best meet the needs of the teaching and learning mission of Durham Academy. With that in mind, we would like to inform you of the MSDDP.OverviewBeginning in October, students in Ms. Williams’s and Ms. Donnelly’s classes will have consistent use of either an iPad2 or a 4 four year old MacBook. All other middle school classes will serve as control groups. At any given time in the project, 38 students will have consistent access (on campus and at home) to a school issued device. Other students will continue to use the computer labs, desktops, iTouch cart and laptop carts. Through the use of the MacBooks and iPads, we plan to assess which device more successfully integrates learning and teaching by conducting a pre-use and post-use questionnaire. We plan to use the information gained in the MSDDP to guide the school’s adoption of a student device in the near future.

We will also monitor how the following will impact the learning environment:

  • 24/7 access with a 1 to 1 device
  • how broadly and frequently apps and input methods are utilized
  • increased independence and self-guided learning by students
  • extension of learning opportunities beyond the classroom
  • development of skills and literacy through interacting with digital media
  • level of creativity and collaboration demonstrated by students and teachers

In addition, we plan to collect anecdotal evidence from teachers and students via classroom blogs.


Mr. Hoyt and I worked with the classes when they first got the devices to go over some care and use instructions. We also discussed the school’s Acceptable Use Policy and how the use of the laptop fits within that document. Since then, I have been helping the teachers get going by providing instructional ideas and introducing the different applications. It has been an interesting time as I move from working with the class using iPads as what we do on that device is slightly different then what I do when I work with the laptop group. I thought about this difference last night and can compare it to when I first started integrating technology into my Science classroom in 1994. I had six Macintosh computers that ranged from and LC II to LC 520. Each could do some things but not all could do the same things so my students and I had to work to figure out how to make all the computers do what we needed to do. For instance, the LC II was better for typing and printing while the LC 520 could handle HyperStudio better since it had better graphics and RAM. The iPad and MacBook laptop differences feel very similar. One is not better then the other, but the MacBook is sure more familiar.

We are keeping a series of private Google Docs where we are recording student questions about the laptops. As they ask the questions, I can provide an answer in the Google Doc so all students can see the answer. Since it is a Google Doc, I do not need to be in the room or on campus.

Reflections to date

  • Evernote sponsored accounts are a really asset for all no matter the device. Ms. Donnelly even shared an audio recording in a note last night
  • Never underestimate the resourcefulness of students to be troubleshooters, helpers, and risk takers. Harnessing their energy makes the process both easier and more exhilarating
  • Provide challenges to students as they will seek solutions that make sense to them. For instance, create a Vocabulary Doodle led to students creating drawings, crosswords, Evernote recorded notes, and other methods of learning the words.
  • Students can be natural collaborators as helping each other has been a hallmark of both devices. More so with the iPad I think then the MacBook, but students helping each other removes the teacher as expert stress
  • Students ask good questions and have high hopes for what they would like to be able to do with the devices. Lower the heft of a backpack is one central one. Will we listen?
  • Parents will support projects like these when given a big picture, but more information is always better especially when a device goes from school to the home. Families either have procedures for device use or will be scrambling to come up with ones. We need to help everyone in our community adjust and plan accordingly. Common Sense Media Internet Safety Guide for Parents is a good start.
  • Being able to flow is essential as the teachers have willingly allowed me to direct class time
  • Rethinking instructional methods is as essential as figuring it out where to put a power strip. Devices should change the instructional norms in a classroom and not just automate it.
  • Blogging for students can be harnessed to create standards and guides for future students while also giving a purpose to the writing that they do in class.

Follow Ms. Williams’ class at: as her class is actively blogging.

Follow Ms Donnelly’s class at: as the will begin blogging soon. Right now they are working on reflecting in Google Docs and Evernote.

Here is a VoiceThread with images of what is taking place. Check it often as we will keep adding images to it.