Bringing the 21st Century Classroom Experience to the Arlington School

June 15, 2019

Today, students and their parents expect to have the latest technology,” said Suzanne Loughlin, APRN, BC, director of McLean Hospital’s Arlington School. “And in the past year, we’ve taken additional steps to bring the 21st-century classroom experience to the Arlington School.” With the help of a $50,000 donation from a parent of a former Arlington School student, the school has purchased five new smartboards and launched a comprehensive, state-of-the-art learning management system (LMS).

Modern versions of the chalkboard, smartboards are large, interactive, touch-sensitive computer screens that teachers can use to deliver a curriculum, with links to historical documents, research articles, videos, and more. The boards can also store information, such as classroom notes, and students can easily download information from the boards to their own digital devices. “Kids are very screen savvy—they’ve grown up with this kind of technology—so it’s an ideal teaching tool,” she said.

The LMS is another effective educational tool. Loughlin describes the LMS as a system for accessing and managing courses on a digital platform. It functions as both a digital repository that allows for a wide variety of information to be stored in a centralized location and an organizational tool to better streamline courses, assessments, teacher interactions, and other activities at the school. Working with an LMS, Loughlin said, will give students experience with a learning tool they will need to be familiar with in order to succeed after they graduate.

Student at the Arlington School uses a smartboard
A student uses one of the five new interactive smartboards at the Arlington School

The decision to add the new technology stems from a two-year self-study conducted by the Arlington School in preparation for its recent reaccreditation with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Loughlin said that the process revealed a need to upgrade existing technology and introduce new systems. “It’s all about improving the school,” she said. “We’ve been using technology for many years, but the results of the self-study revealed further updating that needed to be done, and the donation dovetailed beautifully with our goals.”

With the smartboards and LMS in place, the next steps will be to ensure that faculty and staff are fully trained on the new technology. “Part of the donation money will be used for training,” said Loughlin. “We’re setting up professional development opportunities so we can maximize what the technology is capable of. It’s an exciting time.”

The Arlington School’s ability to introduce LMS and smartboard capabilities to its classrooms was made possible thanks to generous support from a donor.

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