In addition to the Parkland Ready 21 distribution of 2400 Chromebooks to all middle school students (grades 6 through 8) last year, this summer we will be preparing to expand the 1:1 initiative to the high school (grades 9 through 12) through the distribution of an additional 3200 devices. Concurrently, we will be adding an additional fifty-two (52) Chromebook carts to the elementary schools, ensuring at least one cart per grade level. By September, 2019 the district will be completely 1:1, meaning we will have a device available for every student in grades K-12. We are offering several Parkland Academy workshops to help staff leverage these devices fully, and understand how they can facilitate transformative learning experiences for our students.
Trends for Chromebooks in Education
Schools around the US agree: Chromebooks are now the most popular device for students, reaching 58% market share in 2016. The strong combination of affordable devices, productivity tools via G-Suite (Google Apps), easy integration with third party platforms/tools, and easy device management make them a strategic and compelling choice.
As Chromebooks move from an emerging to an established platform, their feature set is becoming more robust. It is the area of '2-in-1' devices (devices that can be utilized both as tablets and with an integrated keyboard for productivity applications) that define the state of the art in Chromebooks for 2017. The 2-in-1 form factor is ideal for education, providing schools with flexibility in usage. To capitalize on the touch input, Chrome OS adding support for Android apps as well.
In our demos, Parkland students and teachers agreed. Supported by research, industry trends, and stakeholder feedback, we have selected HP 11 2 in 1 Chromebooks for our Parkland Ready 21 Personalized Learning transformation in grades 6-8 this year and Lenovo 500e 2 in 1 Chromebooks for grades 9-12.
As we shift to a personalized learning model in our classroom, we are now allowing students to personalize the apps they install on their Chromebooks as well. Students can choose from over 70 apps we have curated in the Parkland Chrome Web Store (must be signed into a PSD Google account to view). Once a student installs an app on one Chromebook, it will be installed on any Chromebook they log into with their PSD Google account.
We anticipate adding many educationally appropriate apps over the course of the school year. To have an app added to our collection, teachers or students may submit a ticket in the PSD Support Center Select Chromebook App Request as the ticket type.
Here is a current list of educational Chromebook apps that help spark student creativity. The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has also curated a list of the best web sites for 2018 that work well on the Chromebooks.
The Care & Feeding of Your Chromebook
Middle school students can learn some best practices on how to take care of their personalized Chromebook here. We recognize that even with the best of care, errors occur, and devices break from time to time. Students or teachers that have such issues with their Chromebook can submit a support ticket to get a speedy fix, or a loaner in the case a device needs to have parts replaced. Select Chromebook as the ticket type.
Getting Started with Chromebooks:
In addition to those primer videos, there are several collections available in hoonuit that students and teachers can access. (Community can access hoonuit here).