Best practices and PD tips for going one-to-one with Chromebooks
When Lyle Evans looks around his district and sees that its year-old one-to-one Chromebooks implementation is running smoothly, he can’t help but think back to a time when Chesterfield County Public Schools’ technology vision was just beginning to formulate and gel. “Our blended learning philosophy dates back about four years,” says Evans, the Chesterfield, Va., district’s assistant superintendent, human resources & administrative services. “Long before Chromebooks, we knew we wanted to deliver the best in face-to-face learning supported by instructional tools.”
Concurrently, Evans says the 65-school district was also looking for new ways to “extend” the classroom and student learning time outside of the traditional four walls. And while the district was already using three to four computers per classroom and a number of Dell laptops, it felt that getting more devices or laptops into its students’ hands would help advance some of its educational goals. “We started to think about our strategic plan,” recalls Evans, “and it became clear that we needed to move to a one-to-one initiative as quickly as possible.”
As a first step in that direction, Evans says school leaders and the district IT team investigated its device and laptop options. After reviewing those options, he says, “it came down to the Chromebook versus the laptop.” The former won out based on its economics (roughly $158 per student via a lease-purchase agreement + a $50 computing fee that students pay), the fact that the district’s current network could support the devices, and the Chromebook’s short boot-up time.
“You open it up and it goes right onto the network and gives students immediate access,” said Evans. “There was no boot-up time like we typical see with laptops.”