A new school year means new technology, and the talk on campus is of Chromebooks. Chances are you have heard rumors about the Chromebook carts, or caught a glimpse of a student typing away on one of the new devices. The question you are most likely asking is, why did the school choose Chromebooks? What are the benefits of Chromebooks over, say, an iPad or traditional tablet? Most importantly, how can you make the most out of your Chromebook access?
In spring of 2018, the Corvallis School District made the decision to switch CHS and CV from the current iPad service to Chromebooks. One of the determining reasons for the transition was the price difference, as a shipment of Chromebooks is generally much more cost effective than the same number of iPads. Additionally, the technological features of the Chromebooks outweigh the iPad.
One of the most prominent of these features is the keyboard. While iPads require constant tapping on an unreliable screen, Chromebooks feature a detachable keyboard as well as the convenient touch screen. On average, consumers can type 71 words per minute on a keyboard, but only 60 on an iPad. In a high school setting, this allows students to make better use of their limited time.
Another appeal of the Chromebook is its support for the Google Suite (Classroom, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides) that are currently used in the school district by students on a daily basis. As you may or may not know, the Google programs allow students to collaborate on presentations, papers, and more, and also provide an easy way for students to share their work with teachers. Additionally, all Chromebooks will be programmed with internet access at school. Assuming all runs smoothly, this will free up space in the computer labs as well as provide students with a more reliable research tool.
If you are a returning student, most likely you remember the frenzy when a teacher forgot to reserve the computer lab for your period. It was a mad search for one of the few iPad carts, and even when iPads were available students often opted to type or research on their smartphones instead of the constantly buffering generation one tablets. The hope of the school district is that Chromebooks will be more widespread throughout the school, allowing both students and teachers to rest easy when it comes to worrying about computer access. According to the district’s financial service director, Olivia Meyers Buch, in a Q&A PDF about the new district budget (the full document can be found on the school district website), the Chromebooks will be readily available:
“For initial deployment, high school devices will be classroom based. Each core subject classroom will have a cart of 40 Chromebooks available for student use during class. In addition, each high school library will have a cart of Chromebooks available for student check out as needed for home use, special projects, etc.”
Essentially, most classrooms will contain their own carts for student use. If students need an individual device to use outside of the classroom for a school project, the library cart will be stocked with Chromebooks for checkout. Through Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, students whose families struggle financially will have an option for affordable internet at home. More information about the program can be found on the budget PDF on the school district site.
Looking forward into the 2018-19 school year, resolve to take advantage of any resources available to you. Even if CHS isn’t promoting the latest MacBook Air, there’s no excuse for not utilizing the Chromebooks, whose functions arguably match that of the trendy Apple laptop. To learn more about Chromebooks and how to check them out, ask a librarian or teacher.