(TNS) -- ASHTABULA TOWNSHIP — A little less than a year after purchasing them, Buckeye Local School District staff say implementation of Chromebooks as a teaching tool is going well.
All four buildings in the Buckeye Local School District — Ridgeview and Kingsville Elementary, Braden Middle School and Edgewood High School — now are using Chromebooks, laptops made by Google.
"The district purchased approximately 550 Chromebooks last year," said Nick Orlando, district business manager. "We bought them in time for testing in April and May of 2016. They were split among the four buildings."
Orlando said the Chromebooks, including charging carts to hold them, management licenses and cases, cost a bit over $148,000 last year. Each high school freshman will have their own Chromebook.
"We should end up paying approximately $37,000 more to continue our one-to-one program for ninth-graders," he said. "Full roll out with the one-to-one program for all ninth-grade students began in September of 2016."
Edgewood High School Principal Michael Notar said if teaching goals are met, the only item a student might need to bring to school would be their Chromebook. It would serve as a notebook, binder, textbook and more.
"It would take the place of almost all instructional devices," he said. "That's one of the Chromebooks' greatest strengths."
He said continued professional development of the district's teaching staff on how to use the Chromebooks effectively is a key to moving forward as a district.
"The teachers have to be well trained and feel comfortable using them in the classroom," he said.
He said every student will use a Chromebook during the next three years. After that, depending on the success of the current program, students will continue to use updated Chromebooks or another laptop.
"Our use of Chromebooks makes communication with classroom teachers during instruction easier," he said. "Also it aligns with what most colleges are doing now."
He said, for all its strengths, relying on Chromebooks does have some weaknesses.
"It requires continual training of teachers and students," he said. "Also, damage to the Chromebooks and damaged parts replacement are inevitable. Also, if the the Wi-Fi system is down, Chromebooks cannot be used."
Braden Middle School Principal William Billington said introduction of the Google Chromebooks has brought about a "whole new world" of technology into the classroom there.
"The Chromebooks have opened up the opportunity to bring more tech into our classrooms," he said. "Teachers can now participate on projects with their students (in real time), or multiple students can all participate together. They're especially effective for group projects."
He said the Chromebooks have generated more enthusiasm for science and math among Braden students.
"We now have sixth-graders building robots as science projects, thanks to the use of the Chromebooks," he said. "The Chromebooks have proven to be remarkably effective in this project. They are very helpful."
©2017 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.