In some cases, community members were invited to visit campuses to see Chromebook pilot projects in action. As a final piece of the puzzle, the district surveyed parents and community members to determine whether or not students actually had internet access at home. “From that exercise,” said Evans, “we found out that a higher percentage of students were equipped with internet at home as we previously believed.” That turned into another selling point for the initiative, which is also supported by the region’s public library system and by several businesses in the community.
Finally, Evans said the district’s commitment to creating a safe internet browsing experience and secure network helped advance the Chromebook implementation in the minds of community members. “When students take the devices home in the evenings, the Chromebooks immediately run through our [school] network,” Evans explained. “That gives us the opportunity to screen out any inappropriate content that students would have access to if they weren’t using our network.”
With Chesterfield County’s high schools bracing for their own Chromebook implementation, the district as a whole is evaluating the results of the last year. “Our research and evaluation department has been out all year long observing, recording results, seeing how teachers are using the devices,” Evans said. “From there, we’ll be doing a qualitative review and we also plan to survey parents.” Even without any solid results in the books yet, Evans said the one-to-one implementation has been the subject of many positive reviews and much encouraging feedback.
“Walk into any of our classrooms, particularly the core subject areas, and you will see devices being used along with other technology devices on a regular basis,” says Evans. “Students are doing their assignments as they always have, but now the paper-and-pencil tasks all take place on the Chromebooks. Our students love them.”
Bridget McCrea is a contributing writer for eSchool News.