In 2014 we introduced close to 10,000 Dell Chromebooks to students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade as part of an on-going 1:1 initiative, known as 1:Vision, to prepare students for a technology-driven world. New Caney ISD will be entering year five of our 1:Vision Chromebook Initiative. So, what is a Chromebook?
According to Google’s own description, “The Chromebook is a computer from Google for getting stuff done in and out of the classroom. It’s simple and secure, and has access to the web and apps built-in so students and teachers can work and learn right out of the box.” While the devices are often mistaken for laptops because of their appearance, Google adds, “They run Chrome OS, an operating system that has multiple layers of security, built-in cloud storage, and the most popular Google products for education built-in.” At under $300 each, the Chromebooks require minimal support and are lightweight and fast.
“Whether it’s college classes, technical programs or entering straight into the workforce, our kids will have the skills they need to succeed,” said NCISD Superintendent Kenn Franklin. “We’ve spent three years preparing for this. Chromebooks give our students the access they need to take their education to the next level and keep the cost down so the district can continue the program for years to come.” Additionally, he emphasized that every campus has reliable WiFi, as well as necessary security measures, and that the district has spent several months researching the most cost-effective and dependable device.
Because of strong student interest in technological learning options, such equipment provides a more student-friendly learning environment beyond traditional note-taking and textbooks. While students will have some regular textbooks during the upcoming school year, the Chromebooks allow students to use more interactive resources and electronic textbooks, which is a trend among school districts. Technology will no longer be a separate part of learning, but will be fully integrated into the student’s educational experience.
The Chromebook initiative has transformed learning among students and has also profoundly expanded teaching methods and opportunities for teachers. Pre-K through fifth grade students have access to the Chromebooks at school, while all students in grades six through twelve receive take-home Chromebooks.
Through funding provided by state and local sources, including the 2013 Tax Ratification Election, NCISD has leased the computers. At the end of the lease period the district will be able to upgrade to newer versions. This will allow the district to continue its commitment to providing its students with the best available technology.
While New Caney ISD isn’t the first school district to issue technology to its students, this was the largest rollout of Chromebooks to students in Texas, and this undertaking did not gone unnoticed. The district has attracted the attention of school districts from Canada and other states around the nation, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Louisiana and Arizona and others who are looking to NCISD as a leader in this effort.