Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Middle School Students to Receive Chromebooks

The never-ending quest to make the best educational use of technology continues with the arrival of 120 Lenovo Chromebooks! Thanks to grants from G. N. Wilcox Trust, Goodale Family Fund of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation and McInerny Foundation, we will be able to implement the plan to provide all middle school students with these highly functional and manageable computers, beginning this fall.

Chromebooks have become extremely popular among schools because of their affordability, manageability and versatility. Chromebook runs on Google’s web-based Chrome OS, which is designed to be used with an Internet connection. Most of Chromebook’s documents and apps exist in the cloud. To ensure efficient access, the school’s bandwidth has been increased four-fold, from a 50 megabit connection to 200 Mbits/s.

Nathaniel Evslin, head of our Technology Department, became sold on this solution for middle school because of the simplicity of the device and the wide array of free educational apps available in all subject areas. Teachers look forward to the uniformity of these devices, as they will all be loaded with identical capabilities, thus making the same applications available to everyone. Teachers are being instructed as to their use and being introduced to some of the most popular apps, including “myHomework,” where students can create a digital planner, Desmos Graphing Calculator, and Screencastify, which allows students to record their screen activity to make videos and upload them to YouTube. Many teachers have taken home a Chromebook over the summer to explore its possibilities.

One of the most practical aspects of using Chromebook is that it allows Mr. Evslin to manage their use through our Google account to ensure student safety. Not only can he add useful apps to all of the Chromebooks at once, he can block apps that are inappropriate for use by our students.

A user's fee will apply for each Chromebook for the year. Students and parents will receive a use agreement to sign when they are issued their Chromebooks at registration in August.