The following content is created in consultation with TD Bank. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC Washington's editorial staff. To learn more about TD Bank, click here.
Technology is a growing priority in many school districts nationwide. Why? It’s able to completely change how teachers teach and students learn. Educators are delivering more personalized content to students, while students are having options to go deeper and improve their learning.
Students reaching their academic potential is common in classrooms that have laptops. In fact, a Michigan State University study found that when students received a laptop computer from their schools for use in the classroom and at home, learning improved in a number of subjects including science, math, and English.
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Positive Results for Special Education
Many D.C. educators using laptops or other smart devices in their classroom have already discovered the advantages of these versatile tools. Jane Quenneville, principal of Kilmer Center, uses laptops and iPads for communication and academic reinforcement skills.
“Our school serves students with intellectual and physical disabilities. Most of them are nonverbal and with applications installed on tablets they are able to unlock their thoughts and feelings,” says Jane. “This summer one of our students exhibited a level of communication that was unbelievable to us. He is now able to communicate in full phrases with accuracy in what he is saying or requesting.”
Extending the Benefits
Children and teenagers in households with lower incomes are less likely to have home computer access. In fact, studies have shown that the further a teen progresses through grade levels, the greater their disadvantage if they don't have access to these tools outside regular school hours.
That’s why out-of-school programs like The House, Inc. provides access to computers for research and academic enrichment for pre-teens and teens in the Greater Washington, D.C. “When school is closed, so are the resources for many students - the library, the computer lab,” says Helen McCormick, founder of The House, Inc. “We help our high school students with technology so they can take ownership of their learning and be excited by their education outside of the typical school day.”
Challenge for Schools and Organizations
Of course, providing laptops or tablets to students comes with a price tag that not every school or organization can afford. TD Bank is looking to fill that gap through their Laptops for Kids initiative which will distribute three Macbook Pro's to The House, Inc. and 80 to 90 Chromebooks to the following school districts: Montgomery County Public Schools, Prince George’s County Public Schools, District of Columbia Public Schools, and Prince William County Public Schools. The initiative aims to build on its long history of helping transform how instruction and learning occurs.
Terry Kenny, Market President of Washington, Baltimore and Delaware at TD Bank, believes these tools will help prepare students for the digital world if implemented correctly. “These 21st-century skills are essential in order to be successful in this day and age. These digital tools will help students be successful in the future; also they will promote a better teacher-parent-student relationship - everybody will be connected.”
“Laptop for Kids is an important piece of bridging a tech gap for our students beyond the school day,” Helen says. “It’s going to help support our students so they can study and make their decision-making easier and faster.” With this donation, Kilmer Center is putting the power of learning in the hands of the learners. “Our students are very drawn to the technology, so when they use these tools, their attention is better and they are more engaged in the instruction and therefore the learning occurs.”
TD Bank is committed to serving the needs of local community and continues to significantly impact the quality of education for children and teenagers through their Laptops for Kids initiative. Click here to learn more about TD Bank's commitment.