Chromebook plan to begin in sixth grade

District embarking on student technology initiative

The district is set to begin phasing in a plan that will ultimately provide all secondary students with a Google Chromebook for use at school and home. This will ensure a common platform and universal access to devices as students and teachers use technology as a tool for collaboration and creation.

The recommendation that the district begin implementing “1 to 1 technology” – a personal device for each student – was developed by the district Instructional Technology Committee, which includes teachers, instructional leaders and technology staff. The phase-in plan calls for each entering sixth grade student to receive a Chromebook beginning in September 2018. Students will trade in the devices when they are in high school.

A Chromebook is a laptop computer that runs the Google suite of programs, which enable word processing, web research, video and presentation production, web design, spreadsheet work and more. The programs are already used extensively by students across the district to complete projects, collaborate and gather feedback.

However, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lauren Gemmill, who leads the Instructional Technology Committee, noted that the purpose of the initiative is not to “go paperless” or replace time-tested instructional practices.

“Technology can be a powerful tool for collaboration, discovery, and projects that allow students to demonstrate what they are learning,” Gemmill said. “With this initiative, we want to increase access to technology in the classroom and at home across a common platform. Phasing it in slowly allows us to learn as we go, build on success and identify necessary adjustments.”

The district utilizes a technology replacement plan to provide financial stability as it updates computer resources. By phasing the Chromebooks one grade level at a time, the district is able to implement this initiative with a modest increase in the plan’s funding level. A portion of the cost will be reimbursed to the district through state aid.