Affordable devices that bring powerful computing to all students
The Upper Grand School District Board, in Guelph, Ontario, purchased 4,000 Chromebooks in 2013 for special-education students, but found that other students consistently borrowed the Chromebooks to bring into their classrooms. Bill Mackenzie, an Upper Grand information and communication technology consultant says that special-needs students are the “tip of the spear for technology, because if it helps them, it will help everybody.” The district now has 15,000 Chromebooks, about one for every two students, and the number continues to increase.
Edmonton Public Schools has nearly 100,000 students. About 25% of students are immigrants or refugees and part of the district’s diverse English Language Learner population. “Equity of access to technology is a challenge, for sure,” says Terry Korte, a supervisor in District Technology. “We try to avoid the fads and stick with the things that make the biggest difference for teachers and their students.” Chromebooks have helped to make that difference in Edmonton since 2012.
The large Alberta district now has over 46,000 Chromebooks, which was the school’s catalyst for moving into the cloud and using G Suite for Education. “Our goal is to have technology in the hands of students when and where they need it,” Korte adds.