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CCPS students get Chromebooks

Clark County public school students will be on the same page when they return to classes online after Labor Day.

Teachers at all schools will be using Google Classroom as their platform to communicate with students and create, distribute and grade assignments, and every student in third grade through high school who wants one will have a Chromebook to use at home.

Chromebooks are notebook computers students can use to access the internet for online study. They are sold under various brand names, but what they have in common is they use the Linux-based Chrome OS as their operating system and Google Chrome as the web browser.

This week, students and parents arrived at schools throughout the district to receive their Chromebooks and sign an agreement that they will follow the guidelines on proper use and care of the devices and pay to repair or replace them if they’re damaged.

The inexpensive computers will be invaluable to students as they learn at home for the first nine weeks of classes. The Board of Education made that decision on Aug. 3 with the understanding that it would be reconsidered every 30 days. 

Megan Collins was one of the students who came to George Rogers Clark High School Monday to receive her Chromebook. She was there with her dad, Chris Collins.

“I think it’s an excellent idea,” the father said. One of the main benefits of issuing the Chromebooks to students, he noted, is that “everybody has the same access.”

Tyler Williamson, the high school’s student technology coordinator and a social studies teacher, said the devices are an excellent teaching tool students can use even after they return to actual classrooms.

“While it’s a great tool for virtual learning,” he said, it also helps with the “development of skills students need to prepare them for the rest of their lives.”

Williamson also thinks the notebooks and Chrome software are a superior product, despite their lower price tag.

“A few years ago, everybody was into iPads, but Chromebooks are significantly less expensive, and with the Chromebook … you’re able to create a lot more,” he said. “It provides a much richer experience.”

When the governor closed schools in March, teachers and students had to transition to nontraditional instruction immediately. For most students, that meant virtual learning, but for those without computers or internet access, it meant picking up paper packets and turning in assignments.

This time, Williamson said, the school district is better prepared.

“It’s something we’ve had a lot more time to develop and plan out. It’s not just what they want to do, but how they want to do it,” he said of the educators.

Besides giving students the hardware and software they need and having someone on call after hours to help with computer problems and other issues, the school district has partnered with a growing list of businesses, churches, nonprofit and governmental institutions to provide WiFi hot spots around town so that students who don’t have access to broadband at home can access it from outside those buildings.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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