Chromebooks, cheap, portable computers that run Google’s Chrome OS, are proving to be grow in popularity in school districts nationwide.
North Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is purchasing 30,000 of the Chromebooks for their middle school students this year in an effort to make their classrooms more technologically savvy. The laptops began to be distributed to students in November and the rollout is expected to be completed by next month.
Teachers at the school feel the laptops help their students to focus more on their work, allowing them to learn the same way that most professionals complete their work today.
Chromebooks are useful across all disciplines, including helping students to keep up with work while they are sick, to re-watch videos to refresh their minds, or even to create their own animated movies.
“The world that they live in is technology based,” said Cindy Pusanik, a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Robinson Middle. “We need to give them the skills and knowledge.”
Pocatello, Idaho is starting a pilot program that would give six classrooms in one of its elementary schools, or around 120 fourth and fifth grade students, Chromebooks to complete their classwork while at school. Students will log in to Google’s education apps which teachers will also be able to access simultaneously, writes Luke Jones for Local News 8.
“All the teachers have a laptop and we’re watching what they’re typing,” said Cathy Leavitt, a fifth grade teacher. “We can also make comments on their page while they’re working.”
Students at Northeastern Middle School in Pennsylvania have been using Chromebooks for years now in the classroom. However, for the second half of this year, 100 students at the school will have the opportunity to carry their own device with them during the school day and even take them home at night.
If the program goes well this year, the school would like to see all of the middle schoolers have access to Chromebooks, both at school and at home. The students are fans of the program, many of whom are excited to not have to fight for a spot at the family computer each night to complete their homework.
Google Classroom, an online site that allows students to collaborate on projects, find assignments and talk to teachers, will be used.
A similar program began at James River High School in Virginia, which passed out 576 Chromebooks to its seniors and freshmen. Eventually students at all four grade levels received a device. Students are not allowed to use social media or any other noneducational materials which have all been filtered.
Principal Jamie Talbott said, “It is an exciting time for students and teachers. The one-to-one initiative will enhance classroom instruction and give better education opportunity for all students.”
The computer market, too, is wasting no time adjusting. Acer has designed two new models of their popular Chromebook, both of which are being used by schools across the country.
The Acer C740 is an 11.6-inch model designed to be portable and durable to allow students to take their laptops home with them. It is small enough to allow students to fit the device into their backpacks, and comes at the price of $259. The Acer C910 features a larger 15.6-inch display and anti-glare properties, costing $299.99.
Both Chromebooks offer a durable frame that can withstand 60kg of pressure and reinforced hinges that can stand up to school environments.