1:1 Chromebook Learning Initiative

1:1 Chromebook Learning Initiative
Posted on 05/21/2019
chromebooks

It seems like just yesterday that the Pembroke Central School District applied to use New York State’s Smart Schools Bond Act fund to move to a 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative. Believe it or not, that plan that was submitted three years ago, was approved last summer and we are ready to move forward with a 1:1 learning initiative beginning in the 2019-2020 school year!

Our teaching staff, support staff, and technology department have been preparing for several years for this initiative by structuring professional development around the effective integration of technology.  Teachers have received training on a variety of topics including various Web 2.0 tools, Chrome, Google Apps for Education, Differentiation, and Personalized Learning. Additionally, we have also strengthened (and continue to reevaluate) our wireless infrastructure over the past several years in order to accommodate the needs of the 1:1 program.

It is the goal of the Pembroke Central School District to implement a successful 1 to 1 initiative which empowers teachers and students to harness the power of technology to collaborate, create, communicate, critically think, and learn how to learn in the 21st century. Studies show that school districts with a student to computer ratio of 1:1, pronounced "one-to-one", out-perform districts that do not. Benefits of a 1 to 1 computing initiative include 24/7 access to technology for students and the ability to extend learning beyond the traditional brick and mortar school.

1:1 refers to one device for every one student. This shift to a 1:1 digital environment, however, is not really about devices. Instead, it is about transforming teaching and learning. Increased technology in classrooms allows for differentiated, adaptive, personalized learning helping students own their own learning. It will allow students to access up-to-date information when they need it, teachers to see (in real time) how students are learning and where they are in their path toward mastery of content, and easier ways to reach diversity in learning styles. This digital shift will help teachers to prepare students for an increasingly more technology-dependent world, to develop environments where students stay engaged since the nature of information and knowledge is changing and students learn differently today.

Chromebooks were the easy choice for this initiative. With an 8 second startup time, low cost of ownership, little to no maintenance, resistance to viruses, automatic updating and simple management, these devices were the clear winner. They offer ease of use from grades K-12 with files stored safely in the cloud and no compatibility issues for students working at home.

The 1:1 Learning Initiative will equip all PCSD 1st-12th grade students with their own computing device by the year 2022 and is being funded through Smart Schools Bond Act funds and the local school district budget. Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, we will begin our 1:1 rollout beginning with 3rd-6th graders, and also include 11-12th graders at the Jr/Sr High School with take home privileges. Jr/Sr High School device deployment will follow a strategic expansion plan with all Pembroke Jr/Sr High School students receiving a take home computing device by 2022. 3rd-6th grade students will each be assigned a chromebook that will remain at school and be charged in a cart in the classroom. 11th-12th grade students will be assigned a chromebook to use at school, a charger, and a carry case. For these students, chromebooks will go home every night and are expected to come back to school everyday fully charged. 7th-10th grade classes will continue to use class sets of chromebooks on carts until their grade levels transition to 1:1. For all of our take home users, the district has implemented a content filtering system to block inappropriate content (ie: web pages, material, etc.) and the filtering will work at school and at home in the same capacity. Since the internet is dynamic and new websites are constantly being added, our content filtering system actively scans for new content and adds it to the filtering

We expect many positive outcomes as a result of this learning initiative including, improved student engagement, preparation of our students for digital literacy, a shift in learning activities to be more relevant to the real world, improved communication between teachers and students, increased student achievement, and preparation of our students for college and career readiness. We hope and expect our teachers to creating learning activities that challenge our students to use critical thinking skills in the context of an environment where they are naturally engaged and to make learning more relevant and meaningful for each and every child. The shift in learning enhanced by the access to 1:1 technology clearly will take Pembroke CSD from yesterday’s classrooms to today’s classrooms.

Please visit our 1:1 Chromebook Initiative Website to learn more about our plans, check out our FAQ's, and review our related policies, at https://sites.google.com/pembrokecsd.org/1to1/home

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