Kahlich outlined Google for Education’s four-pronged approach in improving the quality of school districts’ technological resources: empowering districts, encouraging the use of the right device, facilitating teamwork, and stressing scalability.
As for how schools can get started with going Google, she said they can begin by using any Google core service, devices such as the Google Chromebook, or tablets with the Google Play for Education software.
Council Bluffs Community Schools in Iowa transitioned to Google for Education technology and is on the road to being completely one-to-one with Chromebooks.
Council Bluffs first began to use Google programs for eMail alone, but staff members asked for more access to Google Apps, and over time, the district created a plan to completely switch over to Google for Education. This fall, Council Bluffs will be one-to-one with Chromebooks.
“I think I went out on a limb…when I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’” said David Fringer, the district’s chief technology officer. “Our culture and the school district changed significantly…it’s all been facilitated by the Google suite of products.”
He noted that a key part of the district’s approach had to do with early adopters, including the first 20 faculty members to embrace Google for Education. They later became experts when the rest of Council Bluffs made the switch.
Fringer said that other district tech leaders hoping to convince their administrators that Chromebooks are a good one-to-one option should mention cost-effectiveness. The Google platform itself is inexpensive and many of the tools are free.
Fringer said that internet access and device damage have no been problems for Council Bluffs. Even students without wireless internet at home can find it in places like public libraries, and far fewer devices have been damaged than anticipated–probably because of required student and parent orientations before the rollout of the laptops, he said.
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Carly Buchanan is an editorial intern at eSchool News.