Story by: Ashley Offenbach, staff writer
Photo by: Mackenzie Carpenter, Photo Editor
Mt. Vernon High School students received Chromebooks this year to improve the educational environment. Students are able to work on homework, schoolwork, and personal work. High school students will continue to use these throughout their high school career and in years to come.
¨We will continue to expand the number of access points in the building to minimize dead spots in the building. The biggest change will be to continue to encourage innovation and research into ways to engage students and empower students in their courses,¨ said Dr. Robbins.
¨When students and staff adapt to operating in a blended environment we should see greater examples of project based learning,” said Dr. Robbins. “Some courses are naturally designed for PBL, however, the use of technology encourages that approach across the content areas. We hope to see greater examples of teachers not only facilitating information, but learning along with students.¨
Only the middle schoolers and high schoolers use Chromebooks, while the elementary students use iPads. When the fifth graders move on to sixth grade they will be receiving Chromebooks.
Dr. Robbins explained how the use of the laptops will start to change over the years,especially when fifth graders become sixth graders and move to the middle school. They also are used differently whether in high school, middle school, or eighth grade academy.
¨While the device will change, the operational environment such as the use of Google Tools and the EdMentum products will not change. There is some screen tapping as the touch screen is not a feature on the Chromebook. However, Dell has developed a new chromebook that does have a touch screen, so that might be a natural evolution for us as a district.¨
He continued, ¨The main difference is the use of a keyboard. Our goal with the primary grades was to introduce them to academics in a digital environment. However, we also felt that the lack of keyboarding skills would be a limiting factor; therefore the iPad was the obvious decision. As students get older and begin typing and researching at greater levels, the iPad really becomes limited. It does not operate as well in a Google environment thus limiting the collaboration capabilities.¨
Even though Mount Vernon students have only had Chromebooks for a year, they have become beneficial for successful learning at Mt. Vernon. These computers run faster and work more effectively than the older computers most teachers used to have in their classrooms.
Dr. Robbins said, ¨I am convinced the lightweight nature of Chrome OS is a big reason why most students enjoy using the Chromebook. They can do everything the students need to do with fewer problems. There are no driver issues and no software glitches to deal with. Hit the power button, sign in, and you can be productive in seconds. That is what computing should be like all the time.
¨Furthermore, there is little overhead required,” Dr. Robbins added. “In regards to the previous computers in the classroom I would simply say this…It is pretty hard to carry a desktop home, therefore the digital environment was limited to only those classrooms.¨