Computers in the classroom: One purposeful step at a time

  • Jaffrey-Rindge School District Director of Information Technology Warren Leubkeman proposes using e-rate reimbursement funds to purchase over 700 Chromebooks for the district during a budget meeting on Saturday. Staff photo by Nicholas Handy

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/13/2016 9:05:26 AM

Bringing technology into the Jaffrey-Rindge School District is much more than staying in touch with the latest educational trends. It’s about giving students the tools rhey need to succeed. 

The district, according to Director of Information Technology Warren Luebkeman, is creating “ubiquitous” access to Chromebooks for students, an initiative that involves upgrading the district’s infrastructure and providing professional devices in addition to purchasing devices. 

“For the success of this technology initiative, infrastructure is absolutely critical,” said Luebkeman. “[Student devices] shouldn’t be purchased without a clear plan of how you want to operate in the classroom.”

Presently, the school district has 480 Chromebook laptops spread throughout four schools, although Luebkeman has proposed in the 2017-18 school year to take advantage of E-Rate funding – an FCC program that offsets technology costs in schools – to increase that number to 1,300. That number of Chromebooks would ensure that every student in grade 3-12 would have access to a Chromebook, while five devices would be offered for classrooms in kindergarten through second grade. 

“It’s a very powerful tool, especially for developing writing skills,” said Jaffrey Grade School third-grade teacher Patricia Long. “I have access to five right now, which is great, but more would be even better.”

The school district began an initiative to bring more technology to students by improving the infrastructure at each school three years ago, according to Luebkeman.

Luebkeman said servers, wireless technology, and a number of other things were upgraded, replaced, or brought into the schools to ensure that any Chromebooks purchased would be able to work to its full potential.

In addition to bringing the technological infrastructure up to par, there have also been a number of opportunities for professional development to ensure the technology is being used efficiently. 

“There is a workflow benefit, both for the students and the teachers,” said Conant High School social studies teacher David Dustin. “I was able to discover [the Chromebooks’] potential in about two weeks.”

Dustin said the use of Chromebooks in his classrooms has helped tremendously, allowing instantaneous communication and feedback between students and teachers. Dustin said he is able to better keep track of the work that students are doing by using programs like Google Classroom, and is able to work with students, offer comments, and grade work more efficiently.

“I have seen students and teachers in the district chomping at the bit to get access to Chromebooks,” said Dustin. 

Superintendent Reuben Duncan said there are a number of benefits to giving students and teachers access to the Chromebooks. Students are able to work at their own pace, and teachers are able to constantly check in on their students, offering feedback in a moments notice. Students are able to collaborate with their peers. 

[Chromebooks] allow for the students to be in charge of their learning experience,” said Duncan. “This is a tool to empower students and teachers to perform at a higher level.”


Nicholas Handy can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or He is also on Twitter @nhandyMLT. 


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