Prior to launching the 1:1/BYOD program in 2013, the Technology Department and the District Technology Committee researched the following options for a “mobile device” in a 1:1 program:
- Convertible Tablet PCs
- Slate PCs
- Android Tablets
- Windows Surface RT
During the 2012-2013 pilot, three options from the above where identified as the most promising and were tested in the field: iPads, Chromebooks, and Android tablets.
Following the 2012-2013 pilot, we chose the Chromebook as the device for the second year pilot, a controlled rollout of Chromebooks during 2013-2014. We then expanded the Chromebook rollout in 2014-2015 to include the lower three grades of high school. School year 2015-2016 will be the first school year with all four grades equipped with Chromebooks. The main advantages of the Chromebook are its physical keyboard with trackpad and its centralized management interface. Its main drawback is its dependency on a fully functional Internet connection (although we have enabled offline access so they will work even without an Internet connection, albeit some limitations). Finally, there is a general consensus that the Chromebook was, of the three options initially tested in the field, the one that required the smallest learning curve, as the vast majority of students have likely worked on a browser in a laptop before; whereas experience with a Tablet/iPAD in a classroom setting is still limited.
Many families in the District already have a traditional desktop or laptop at home (in several instances with better specs than what we could provide for each student in a 1:1 program). Therefore, it is not the intention of the 1:1 program to replace the technology that families have at home. Rather, the intention is to complement the technology at home. For example, a student can start working on a project at school using the 11.6″ screen on the Chromebook. Then, at home, the student can continue working on a family desktop with perhaps a bigger screen. This is possible because all student work can be saved “in the cloud” and can be picked up from any student device.
Please note that the Technology Department continuously researches available technology offerings. Technology moves fast and the selection of a device might vary in the future.