At least one school district in Illinois is following the lead of many colleges and universities and plans to implement a program to issue laptop computers to freshman and sophomore students next fall for the 2016-2017 school year. Continuing a movement that is becoming overwhelming, the students will be receiving Google Chromebooks as part of a 1:1 learning initiative.
Superintendent Catherine Finger of Grayslake Community High School District 127 says 1,425 Chromebook laptops will be purchased and deployed as part of the initiative to broaden the use of technology in the classroom. Finger said,
“Our goal as a high school district is to always find the best possible instructional resource. We gave ourselves some time to find the right tool, and I’m really glad we’re going with the Chromebooks.”
The choice of Chromebooks comes after the school conducted several pilot programs over the last few years. Other devices that were considered included iPads and cellphones and even students’ own personal equipment. The school system also had to work on preparing their network infrastructure to support educational tools that were more network and technology based. Starting in May and over the summer, the district will provide training to teachers on Chromebooks and the instructional tools they will be able to use.
This is not the first 1:1 initiative that opted to use Chromebooks at the high school level. The Waukegan Community Unit School District 60 deployed 5,000 Chromebooks last fall. Superintendent Rich Pattison believes their program has been highly successful in shifting instructional practices and helping students prepare for the workplace of the future.
Grayslake has not indicated what the total cost of their 1:1 initiative is nor have they shared what model or configuration Chromebooks were selected for the program. The district does plan to make it possible for students to purchase the Chromebook assigned to them via a payment plan that totals $380.