UHS buys new Chromebooks

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UHS buys new Chromebooks
Students are able to collaborate with other students using Chromebooks. (Belana Beeck)

Staff Writer

Chromebooks are a new addition to this year’s AP English Language and Composition classes. The implementation of Chromebooks was the result of IUSD exploring the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) option instead of investing $40,000 in a new computer lab.

Chromebooks are designed to create a collaborative space for learning as opposed to the one-to-one setting of a computer lab. When teachers use Chromebooks in their classrooms, they can share and work with other teachers to coordinate lesson plans.

Ms. Jennifer Moore (English Dept.) and Ms. Christine King (English Dept.) are now both teaching AP English Language and Composition with Chromebooks. They will be collaborating extensively to come up with new lesson plans and redo the entire curriculum during the year. Their reflection on their experiences at the end of the year will determine if the school will continue the program. Moore and King declined to comment.

Every year, UHS spends around $80,000 updating existing labs and technology around the school. This year, $2,000-6,000 were allocated to the new Chromebooks. The purchase was paid in part by fundraising from the PTSA, student store and donations. Additionally, IUSD matches the amount of money spent on technology for future investments. 

New concerns inevitably come with new changes. There are concerns that teachers would have less control over the information conveyed to students and that students who prefer lectures will no longer have access that style of teaching. The Chromebooks, however, allow more students to participate in class.

With the Chromebooks, students are able to work and input answers onto the same documents and have live documents that give instant feedback. Additionally, students who are hesitant to participate in class can easily collaborate through the Chromebooks. “I was the kid who would never raise their hand in class because I was completely scared of saying the wrong thing. A Chromebook would have been a game changer for me,” said Mr. Dominic Fratantaro (Librarian). 

“Our plan is to slowly grow it, observe it, learn from it and slowly institute it into the classrooms,” Fratantaro said. “We’re trying to go slow with technology but making sure it’s purposeful.”

As of now, the infrastructure is outdated, so the increased bandwidth installed this year will reduce Wi-Fi glitches. Old cables will be removed from the walls and the ground, and new cables will replace them. The Wi-Fi is being updated to accommodate the technological needs of nearly 200 new Chromebooks.

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