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30,000 Chromebooks reach middle schoolers in N.C. district

By Andrew Dunn, The Charlotte Observer
February 17th, 2015

Move is the district’s latest in an attempt to boost students’ tech skills

Chromebooks-NCNorth Carolina’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) is equipping each of its 30,000 middle school students with a laptop this year in the district’s latest move to make its classrooms more tech-savvy.

The district began distributing Google Chromebooks in November, and the rollout should be complete by next month, said Valerie Truesdale, the CMS chief of technology, personalization and engagement. Teachers say it helps their students be more focused on their work, and allows them to learn the same way most professionals work today.

In language arts classes, students can write papers or create presentations on their laptops, uploading the file to the web to work on at home and at school. A child that’s behind in a science class can go back and watch a video of a lesson. A new arts class at Jay M. Robinson Middle is even using them to create animated movies.

“The world that they live in is technology based,” said Cindy Pusanik, a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Robinson Middle. “We need to give them the skills and knowledge.”

The initiative caps two years of efforts to connect classrooms to the internet. Every classroom inside a school building was connected to wireless internet before last school year. In August, CMS finished bringing Wi-Fi to every mobile classroom. The district has also bought digital textbooks in science and social studies classes.

Next page: How the Chromebook initiative works in classrooms