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Architecture Meets iPads at SMMA’s New Grafton High School

Within the walls of the new $73 million Grafton High School in Grafton, Massachusetts, the universal influence of mobile technology is shifting teaching methods, school design and student engagement. As part of a strategy designed to accelerate the change from analog to digital learning - and take advantage of the building’s high tech design - all Grafton High students were handed a new iPad before the school opened in September.

Dissecting this trend towards wireless and mobile education and its impact on the planning and design of 21st Century schools will be a panel presentation at Architecture Boston (ABX) titled “Going 1:1: How Grafton High School Planned for Educational Technology” on Wednesday, November 14th at 6:00 pm at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Panelists for the 90-minute session will include Maureen Cohen, Assistant Principal of Grafton High School, Philip Poinelli, an architect, educational programmer and principal with design firm Symmes Maini & McKee Associates/SMMA, and David Pereira, principal with engineering firm Garcia Galuska DeSousa. At Grafton High, 1:1 refers to the ratio of iPads to students.

“We need technology in every classroom and in every student’s and teacher’s hand because it’s the pen and pencil of our time,” said Cohen. “Having a wireless and technology-enabled building for our students will allow education to be portable, flexible and accessible.”

According to Philip Poinelli of SMMA, the biggest change taking place in technology use at schools such as Grafton High is “a far-reaching shift from a traditional teacher-focused model of teaching to a more personalized student-centric model,” he said. “This change requires a comprehensive approach to how we design today’s schools and how school systems build in the things that we know work to the benefit of teachers and students.”

The Grafton High architecture is designed to support this student centric learning, and to motivate digital-native teenagers accustomed to instant access to online resources. For information on and registration for ABX Boston and the “Going 1:1: How Grafton High School Planned for Educational Technology” panel program, visit the ABX website at www.abexpo.com.

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