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Any time an organization takes on an innovation the leaders worry about a successful implementation. Although every initiative will present its own problems, it helps when you can see how another school district carried out the changes involved in introducing Google Apps and Chromebooks for education to their stakeholders.
Arlington ISD started looking for new technology solutions in 2013. The district serves a population of approximately 64,000 students grades K-12 in a suburb just south of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The challenge was to create a technology rich environment that allowed research and encouraged the critial thinking skills students will need to be successful in the future.
Technology Challenges Facing AISD
The district faced many of the problems common to most school districts. As it had worked to evolve with technology, schools had developed computer labs and access to laptops in the classrooms, but many of the students still lacked the sort of immediate access that today's learners need. It also had to be concerned about working within the constraints of a yearly budget.
Fortunately, Arlington residents agreed to bring more technology into the schools, and the district was able to gain the funds it needed. The primary goal was to put more devices in more classrooms so that students had access whenever they needed it rather than relying on the availability of a reserved computer lab or an occassional cart of laptops.
Google for Education Solutions
AISD opted to use chromebooks for students in grades 3-12. The district cited affordability, ease of use, long battery life, and ability to meet the needs of students as the reasons for the choice. Early adopters started integrating the devices into their lesson plans and before long everyone was using Google Apps for Education.
One of the unexpected outcomes of incorporating the devices into the classroom is the way they facilitate collaboration. Students, teachers, and administrators are able to work together within a single file to make updates and corrections in real time. Jim Holland, an instructional technology specialist in AISD, noted that "on any given week during the school year, we see 50,000 to 80,000 Docs created."
Benefits of Using Chromebooks for Education
One of the best results has been how chromebooks for education have changed the traditional feedback loop. In the past, the best way for teachers to give students feedback was in the form of grades after the students turned the work in. Now teachers can work with students as they are completing the work to help students see how to make improvements before the grade is final. Chromebooks for education allow teachers to work with each student where that student is in a way that has never been possible before.
The affordability of chromebooks means that the district can provide more devices to students at the classroom level closing the socioeconomic divide. The district has been able to implement a 1:1 program for targeted populations at the point of need. Students are able to collaborate with students in their immediate classroom or even in different classes or on different campuses.
“Google Docs is the thread that bridges the gap between different core content areas.” — Barry Fox, director of instructional technology at the Arlington Independent School District
The chromebooks for education allow a level of connectedness that was not previously feasible. One other saving has been on time. Chromebooks boot up quickly and run longer on a single charge making them more efficient in daily use.
Chromebooks for education have made a dramatic impact on how well AISD is able to prepare its students for life after graduation. Download the complete case study or contact CoolheadTech today to see what chromebooks for education could do for your school.