Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative
Berkshire Connect was part of a collaborative partnership that developed the Berkshire Wireless Learning Initiative (BWLI). This pilot program was introduced in the North Adams and Pittsfield middle schools to test a one-to-one approach of using laptops in classrooms to enhance the learning process and improve student achievement. Participating schools were Silvio O. Conte Middle School in North Adams and Herberg Middle School, Reid Middle School, St. Mark School, and St. Joseph School in Pittsfield.Beginning in January 2006, more than 2,300 middle school students and teachers were given Apple laptop computers to use in the classroom and at home. The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) coordinated the approach to professional development to help teachers incorporate this teaching tool into the classroom. MCLA also developed in-service, undergraduate and graduate level education programs in instructional technology. Other partners were the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and local businesses. Boston College conducted a comprehensive evaluation study that measured the impact of BWLI on student learning.
The state awarded $2.5 million dollars to the pilot program and participating schools. The private sector contributed matching funds. This was an exciting opportunity for Berkshire County to pave the way for other communities in the state to implement similar programs.