1:1 Chromebook Initiative
District Goals and the 1:1 Initiative
In the 2017-2018 school year, our district began an initiative with the goal of providing every student in the district with a Chromebook. As of the 2020-2021 school year, we have met that goal. This video gives an overview of our district's three overarching goals, and how our 1:1 initiative fits in with those.
The video below was shown to parents at our initial device rollout in November of 2017
What is a Chromebook?
They look and function much like a laptop. They don't run on Microsoft Windows, though, instead using Google's Chrome OS. If you have ever used the Chrome internet browser on a computer, then you're already familiar with the way a Chromebook works.
What are the strengths of a Chromebook?
They are faster and generally easier to use than any Windows laptops in the same price range.
As a G Suite (Google) district, our students do a great deal of their coursework in applications like Google Classroom and Drive. Chromebooks are built around the G Suite services, so it makes it easy for students to work and collaborate with their peers.
What are the weaknesses of a Chromebook?
You can't install standalone programs like Microsoft Word. Instead you need to find online or Chrome app versions. Most of the time this isn't a problem, but there are some Windows programs that do not currently have web-based versions or alternatives.
Chromebooks really shine when they have an internet connection. Some Google services, like Drive, can be used offline, but dynamic websites are unavailable if you don't have an internet connection.
What if we do not have internet access at home?
Your child can still work on files and documents in their Drive even if they are somewhere without internet access. In order to do so, they need to do the following steps on their Chromebooks. (This only needs to be done one time.)
1. Open Google Drive (drive.google.com).
2. Click on the gear in the upper right corner and select “Settings.”
3. In the window that pops up, check the box for Offline mode.
By following these steps, the contents of your child’s Drive will be saved on the Chromebook so they can be accessed and edited offline. If he or she opens a file and edits it, or starts a new document, all changes will automatically sync to their online Drive as soon as the Chromebook has a wireless connection again.
NOTE: If your child gets an assignment from a teacher through Classroom, or a document that is shared with them by someone else, and he/she wishes to work on it offline, it must be opened while the Chromebook still has an internet connection. If it is not opened, it cannot be saved to the Chromebook for offline use. Once the new document has been opened, it will be synced to the Chromebook and available offline.
Your child’s teachers are aware of the fact that not all students will have internet access for their Chromebooks outside of school, and have been asked to plan assignments accordingly. Assignments that specifically require internet use, and which cannot be done using the offline capabilities of Drive alone, should be planned so as to allow students without access time in school to complete the work.
If you find this to be a problem for your child, we would first encourage you to contact the teacher, and explain the situation. The vast majority of the time, the issue can be solved right there. If, however, lack of internet access continues to be an issue in assignments, please contact the building principal.
Skills & Digital Citizenship Resources
As technology and the internet become more pervasive, its reach extends further into the lives of our children. The reality is that the number of jobs that do not involve the use of technology is shrinking all the time. Couple that with the use of devices like smartphones, and it becomes essential that we teach our children how to use technology responsibly, ethically, and safely. This is the heart of what is known as digital citizenship.
With the advent of 1:1 in our schools, digital citizenship topics will be finding their way into the curriculum at all levels. As we use Chromebooks to open the digital world to our students, it is an absolute necessity that we do all we can to keep them safe.
Here, we are asking for your help. The skills of digital citizenship are most effectively learned when they are taught and reinforced at home as well as school. Having conversations with your children about safe and responsible behavior online is extremely important.
We understand that the topic can be complex, confusing, and sometimes uncomfortable. Common Sense Media is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help kids be safe and thrive in the modern technological world. If you visit their website, www.commonsensemedia.org, They have dozens of parent guides on topics like internet safety and privacy. Their site can help you become more informed about the skills of digital citizenship, and give you resources and ideas for how to approach the topic with your child.
Additionally, this article helps break down the major ideas and skills of digital citizenship.