CW Schools working to provide computers to students

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

A timed technology rollout in the Canal Winchester school district could place Internet-based Chromebooks in the hands of all students within four years.

The one-to-one pilot program starts this summer with distribution of the devices to teachers throughout the district. In January 2017, eighth and ninth graders will be issued their own Chromebook to use at school and take home at night.

“Then we’ll establish a baseline and decide if we want to move forward with the one-to-one program,” said Technology Supervisor Martin Hugo. “Then in 2017-18, sixth through 12th graders—assuming a successful pilot—will get one. In 2018-19, the Chromebooks will rotate down to the elementaries and we’ll double the footprint of Chromebooks at the elementaries. By the fourth year of the program, it will be one-to-one kindergarten through 12th grade.”

While students in grades six through 12 will take the devices home, elementary students must leave their Chromebooks in the school building. For students without an Internet connection at home, the district plans to purchase portable, wireless hotspots students can sign out temporarily.

“We’ll have control over those devices,” said Hugo.

With Chromebooks, everything is stored online and there is no need for constant software updates. The computer, operating system and updates are supported through Google’s Web-based management.

“A lot of our curriculum is moving online,” said Curriculum Director Cyndi Toledo. “A lot of our teachers use Google Classroom as a platform and it’s a good communication tool. Students are already doing research using Chromebooks.”

Assistant Curriculum Director Deb Fincks said the intention is to develop students as creators and not just consumers of media.

“It’s going to be a shift in environment,” said Fincks. “We’ll engage students in a variety of individual, collaborative tasks. With Google Hangout, they can work from home and still collaborate with each other. It’s going to take it (computer) from using it online just as a word processor to using it to create their learning.”

Technology banner

Hugo shared the results of a competition sponsored by his department to create a technology banner for his offices in the school district’s administrative office complex on Washington Street.

“It’s no secret that visitors to this building can get easily confused,” said Hugo, who admitted the technology offices can be difficult to locate. “I thought what we needed is a sign, so we ran a competition last December with the help of the middle and high school art departments to design a banner to go over the entryway.”

The winner of the competition was high school freshman Connor Clark, who received an iPad, case, keyboard and backpack with a school logo for his efforts. He said he loves designing banners and spent more than a week working on it.

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