In the four months that Owensboro Public Schools students have been using Chromebooks, Sydney McFadden has heard good reports.
McFadden, OPS district learning coach, said the district decided to switch from MacBook Airs to Chromebooks for several years, one of which being the cost. She also said that Chromebooks were more streamlined with programming already taking place. For example, students were using the Google Chrome browser on the MacBook Airs.
The district purchased 3,000 Chromebooks in the summer for a total cost of $1,242,750, according to OPS Finance Director John David Sandefur.
“It has been going very well,” McFadden said. “I think the students have adapted to it very well and so have the staff.”
McFadden said the Chromebooks have a variety of features that are student-friendly. They have a longer battery life, for instance, and that has made for fewer interruptions throughout the day. They are also touch-screen, and they have a 360-degree hinge so they can be used as tablets.
The only complaint McFadden has heard is that students are unable to play some of their favorite non-educational games.
“But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing,” she said.
Students are assigned Chromebooks during the first week of school. At the end of the school year, the district collects them and they will get re-assigned next year. District technology officials spend the summer cleaning the devices, and “freshening them back up,” McFadden said.
Jared Revlett, district spokesman, said all students in grades six through 12 are given a personal device that they may take home with them. Each elementary school has approximately 300 that the individual schools purchased for students to use, but those devices stay in the building.
He said so much of today’s work, both in the classroom and in the real world, requires technology. The district providing each student with the tools to succeed sets them up “for success in the classroom and for life after school.”
“Having personal devices allows students to finish assignments on time, research topics from the comfort of their own home and allows for opportunities to learn outside the classroom,” Revlett said.