At St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, every student approaches course material differently. Our computers have introduced a whole new level of flexibility to their classrooms.
The learning community at St. Mary’s is unique. In addition to classes for students in all grade levels, they’ve got a residential program that serves students up to age 21. Some of their students communicate using technology aids, while others have been diagnosed with complex disorders.
St. Mary’s prides itself on providing equitable access to educational opportunities and school officials have prioritized giving students access to education technology. The school has been preparing for a move to 1:1 computing, a learning environment in which each student and teacher is given a mobile computer to access the internet, digital course and supplemental material, and digital textbooks.
To pull it off, administrators at St. Mary’s knew they’d need to find computers durable enough to withstand the rigors of active learning spaces both in and out of the classroom. The computers would also need to be easy for students and teachers to use, meet the learning community’s unique needs, and enable students to complete project-based learning modules.
As it turned out, we had not one, but two computers that fit the bill.
Learning with 2-in-1 laptops and rugged tablets
In 2015, St. Mary’s received a $5,000 grant from National Grid, which funds outreach, research, and learning programs that encourage students to study science, technology, engineering, and math.
After touring our product workshop and meeting members of our team, St. Mary’s officials discovered a strong mission alignment. Our mission is to empower people and change lives by increasing access to technology and hiring people who are historically underrepresented in technology.
Bak USA’s business model provides support for individuals who have similar backgrounds as our students. We greatly value those efforts.”
Margaret Phillips, Executive Director
Foundation for Deaf Education
St. Mary’s School for the Deaf
St. Mary’s decided to use the grant to purchase 10 of our Atlas 2-in-1 laptops.
The Atlas worked beautifully at St. Mary’s. It’s durable, water-resistant, drop-resistant, and portable. It includes an active stylus so students can use digital inking technology to express themselves. And perhaps best of all, the Atlas is a 2-in-1 laptop with a touchscreen, so it works as both a touchscreen laptop and folds back into a touchscreen tablet—a feature that allows students to interact with course material in a way that’s right for them.
In 2017, St. Mary’s again applied for a grant from National Grid and received another $5,000. This time, they bought seven of our rugged tablets.
Our rugged tablets are drop- and water-resistant, making them perfect for use in outdoor spaces by active learners of all ages. They run Windows 10, an operating system that students and teachers are familiar with, and include an active stylus so students can bring their ideas to life with digital inking technology.
Classroom computers for collaborative work
Teachers at St. Mary’s use project-based learning, a method which poses a question or problem to students that they can solve through collaboration. For one such project, sixth- and seventh-grade math students were tasked with designing a gymnasium that would meet the school’s needs and accommodate visual access for the deaf and hard of hearing. The students served as project architects, conducting research and designing and building a scale model.
Rachel Ernisse, our graphic designer and photographer, and I were invited to come to St. Mary’s and watch students complete part of their project. They could barely wait for their teacher to give them the go-ahead to start using their computers. They showed us their scale model, collaborated on additions for their gymnasium, and eagerly showed us how they used their computer’s stylus to draw their ideas.
Curious to see how they did it—and how our computers helped make it happen? I thought you might be.
To watch students use our computers to create, explore, and learn—and to see them get excited about their project—was an incredibly rewarding experience. Rachel and I were both pretty fired up when we got back to the office. And why not? It’s invigorating to see your company’s mission to empower people and change lives come to life right before your eyes.
Curious about how we’re helping students and teachers take ownership, overcome challenges, and create learning opportunities? Right this way.