WATERFORD — Twenty-years past, pupils walked the hallways taking piles of books in their own arms, but the times have changed. Increasingly more schools are looking at how technology can improve the quality of instruction and it having an impact .
“Digital abilities are so important for pupils in order to compete in a world market said Ed Brzinski, superintendent of the Waterford Graded School District, adding that it helps the students “become better digital citizens.”
Google Chromebook laptops are being purchased by the Waterford district for incoming third- and sixth-grade students, that will cost the district . $81,200
“From here on out it’ll be a standard budgeting item,” Brzinski said, adding each year they’re going to continue to purchase new Chromebooks for the sixth and third grades.
Brzinski said there are roughly 150 students in each grade, meaning about 300 notebooks are going to be bought.
Brzinski considers it’s a good value that’ll only cost about $77 per year, per pupil.
The apparatus will go with the pupils as they move up through the various class levels.
Kannan Heath, Waterford Graded’s technology administrator, oversees the plan and has a son who was part of the plan at Evergreen Elementary last year with the third grade.
“He’s been excited about it,” Heath said of his son. “It’s teaching him the 21st century abilities.”
“It’s a digital world,” Heath said.
An increasing tendency
Other school districts have been using Chromebooks for several years. The Union Grove Elementary School District is going using Chromebooks in the classroom. Like Waterford, Union Grove stared with the sixth grade and kept buying for each incoming class. This will function as first year in which the eighth, seventh and sixth grade students will have Chromebooks they can take home.
Principal of Union Grove Elementary, Thomas Johnson, said there are benefits to using Chromebooks for teachers and pupils.
“It frees them up,” Johnson said of the teachers. “They have the flexibility to set up lessons on their own.”
The Chromebooks was also used by Union Grove Elementary for state and district testing.
Johnson added that they even have the devices for grades 3-5 but those continue in the classroom.
For Union Grove Elementary, their teachers can be emailed or message by students directly if they’ve a question about an assignment. In addition, it changes how group undertakings are prepared.
All the students can log on, despite the fact that they’re not collectively,” Johnson said. “It enables accessibility to information beyond the school day.”
Johnson said there haven’t been any major security problems with the Chromebooks; yet, there have already been or saved and some episodes where a student seen inappropriate content on their notebook.
Johnson said those events are few and don’t represent the behaviour of the majority of pupils with the Chromebooks.
“ It’s quite minor when you’re contemplating the number of Chromebooks we’ve,” Johnson said.
There may also be a cost benefit to schools going to Chromebooks.
By providing Chromebooks, we don’t need certainly to buy textbooks that were challenging,” Johnson said. He said he wasn’t sure how much money the school has saved since going to Chromebooks.
Amy Ketter, a sixth grade teacher at Union Grove Elementary, started last year using Chromebooks in the classroom and has noticed a huge impact with how she communicates with students.
“The largest thing is their independence and their ability to advocate for themselves,” Ketter said.
Ketter said she uses the notebooks a lot and it “drastically changed the way I instruct.”
The Burlington Area School District will offer Chromebooks for students in second through 12th grades.
“We’ve had a lot of devices in our classrooms already, ” said assistant superintendent, Connie Zinnen, including that they’ve used Chromebooks in the past together with iPads and PCs. “They ’re cost-efficient. It permits US to buy them and get them in the hands of our students.”
Just pupils in high school will have the ability to take them Zinnen noted.
Zinnen said they’re excited to include technology in the classroom and learn about the best use of Chromebooks.
“Technology can enrich education.