July 8, 2020

School Matters 7/8/2020

Technology Upgrades Coming to PPS

Princeton Public Schools (PPS) announced two technology purchases last week, a one-to-one computer and tablet initiative and a new Learning Management System (LMS), providing needed upgrades for its existing devices and delivery systems.

Students in Pre-K and first grade will be provided with iPads; students in second to fifth grades will receive HP Chromebooks; and students in sixth to 12th grades will be issued MacBooks that are compatible with the programs the district currently uses.

PPS currently provides iPads, Chromebooks, and Apple laptops for shared student use, but with sharing devices among students in the COVID-19 era considered a health risk, sharing will no longer be practiced in the district.

The plan to move to one-to-one, with a device for every student, was based on equity for all students, affordability, and practicality in terms of what applications PPS teachers use in the classroom.

The $2.6 million price tag for the purchases reflects costs over the next five years, and, with low-interest financing, is essentially ”budget neutral,” according to a PPS press release.  Yearly payments are equal to what PPS had budgeted for technology on a yearly basis.

Student App Challenge Winners

Three Princeton Charter School (PCS) eighth-graders used their time in quarantine this spring to develop an app to make it easy for senior citizens to contact their caregivers quickly.  It can also help users to navigate home or call a help center if they get lost.

Working together, Edward Cao, Anderson Chiang, and Marvin Zhang, all heading to Princeton High School this fall, used the MIT App inventor to create a prototype of their “Mobile Help” application, which they presented in the LiveWell 2020 Student App Challenge, a nationwide contest. They won the Honorable Mention Award with a cash prize of $300, which they are donating to PCS.

“I’m incredibly proud of Edward, Anderson, and Marvin,” said PCS Assistant Head of School Lisa Eckstrom. “The fact that they won an honorable mention and that they decided to donate their prize money back to the school to help other students is remarkable and says so much about their character.”

PRISM Sophomore to Compete in Continental Science Fair

Runqian Wang, a sophomore at Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (PRISM), will be competing in the INSPO Research and Innovation Competition (IRIC), a virtual science fair for the 200 most talented high school students in North America.

Wang will be presenting his research project “Adaptive Computation of the Projection Matrix for Medical Imaging.”  According to IRIC Co-Director Peter Zhu, Wang is passionate about using technology to assist the healthcare industry. His research was on the investigation of a mathematical model that could optimize the calculation of medical images. The proposed algorithm could potentially speed up a CT scan by up to 500 times.

The IRIC science fair offers winning participants trips to Korea, Spain, and New York City, more than ten internships, and more than $2 million in scholarships and other cash prizes.