Why does Regional School District #16 believe that a 1:1 technology initiative is important?
The mission of Regional School District #16 is to provide high quality educational opportunities through the use of traditional, experiential, and creative instructional practices to ensure that all students become inquisitive, lifelong learners with the 21st century skills necessary to be successful.
21st century skills encompass the six C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, Critical thinking, Connectivity, and Culture. The faculty and staff of Region 16 schools are committed to providing educational experiences that will prepare students to lead successful lives after graduation, which includes incorporating technology responsibly, efficiently, and effectively.
Research supports that through personalized learning students are demonstrating significant gains in math and reading. Technology and online learning have proven to increase student engagement, positively affect performance. Extend learning beyond the classroom, and promote critical thinking. Integrating technology across all curriculums will encourage individual learning and growth, create active learners, facilitate peer collaboration. And offer project based learning experiences as we prepare our children for the 21st century.
Chromebooks are web-based devices designed around accessing the Internet through a web browser. They boot in seven seconds and resume instantly—eliminating time wasted with traditional computer startup and network connection. Long battery life (8-9 hours) means Chromebooks last an entire school day. Chromebooks are lighter and smaller than traditional laptops, but provide larger screens than the average tablet. They require little maintenance and are much lower in cost than iPads or laptops. Each Chromebook is managed by the district and we restrict access to non-education sites and apps using 3rd party software from GoGuardian and our district web filter.
All students at Long River Middle School and Woodland Regional High School have been using Chromebooks since 2015, when Regional School District 16 first purchased the devices for student use. Students have been using GSuite (formerly Google Apps for Education) to collaborate with peers and share work with teachers in many classes since Chromebooks were first introduced to Region 16 schools. Applications, school work, and settings are stored in the cloud and are available anywhere the student has Internet access. There is no special training required: If you know how to use the Web, you know how to use a Chromebook. Users may have to familiarize with key strokes as shortcuts.
The tight integration between Chromebooks and GSuite, ease of use, battery life and low total cost of ownership make Chromebooks the best choice for student devices.
Chromebooks can seamlessly access the Google Apps suite, as well as hundreds of other apps available in the Chrome Web Store. Creates a “level playing field.” All kids have the same device, eliminating the “haves and have nots. And teachers don’t have to troubleshoot multiple devices in classroom.
What is GSuite (Formerly Google Apps for Education)?
GSuite is a web-based productivity suite of applications that Google hosts on their own servers and makes available to schools for free. Google provides these applications as a "service," rather than as software you have to download and install. To access these applications, you simply use a web browser on any computer that is connected to the Internet. These applications have much of the same functionality found in the Microsoft Office suite, but were built from the ground up to be accessible over the internet so that they can be used with no special software and just access to the Internet.
Access to services from anywhere, at anytime - A key benefit of the Google hosted solution is that we can access files, email, contacts, and calendar from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection, from anywhere in the world. Anytime, anywhere access with GSuite provides users the ability to be productive at school, home, or even on their mobile devices. Because GSuite only requires a web browser, students can work from almost any family computer without having to purchase new software.
Real Time collaboration - GSuite was build for collaboration and makes it very easy for students to work in groups and with teachers on the same documents in real time. Students and teachers can easily upload files from their home computer and share with any Region 16 account holder.
Safe and Secure - GSuite provides a safe and secure online environment by respecting and ensuring the privacy of students. Google Apps for Education does not sell information to third parties. Please see this site for more details, https://www.google.com/edu/trust/.
Ease of Use - With GSuite, students no longer have to worry about saving files, storing files on a USB key, attaching and sending files by email. GSuite also supports popular formats such as .doc, .xls, .ppt, and .pdf. Files stored on Google Drive are always accessible and backed-up online. GSuite’s commenting feature is ideal for teacher and collaborator's feedback on documents and/or presentations. Revision history allows users to review document edits over time and revert changes.
Surrounding Districts: Are many other school districts in Connecticut taking similar steps?
Yes. We’ve discovered several other districts around the state which have done one-to-one technology rollouts for students, including using Chromebook devices. A short list includes Darien, Shelton, Newington, Suffield, Greenwich, Plymouth, Bethel, Norwalk, Granby, and Meriden. Before our One to One launch, we sought advice on how to move forward from other one-to-one districts, learning from them what’s worked well and how to avoid certain problems.
Identification: How is one student’s Chromebook identified from another?
All the Chromebooks are the same, so they look very much alike. However, each Chromebook will be tagged with a card with the student’s name and student ID number on it in barcode form. Additionally, district asset tags with bar-codes will be on each device and each device has a serial number. The district keeps all that data, so if a Chromebook is misplaced, we can determine who it is assigned to get it back to the student user.
Any ID stickers that are on the Chromebook when issued must stay on the Chromebook. No additional permanent markings of any kind (stickers, engraving, permanent ink pen, tape, etc.) shall be placed on the Chromebook or it’s carrying case at any time. While the devices are issued to students, they are still district-owned property.
Additional permanent markings on the device or its case will be considered vandalism. Students can add non-permanent identifying items to the case such as ribbon, key chains or other removable items.
How are the purchase of the Chromebooks being funded?
The Chromebooks are being purchased with funds from the Regional School District 16 budget.
Who owns the Chromebooks - the students or Region #16? Is a protection plan available to cover accidents to the device?
Students will be issued a Chromebook from Region #16. Students will be able to take home the device and have access 24/7, but the Chromebook will remain property of Region #16 schools. Region 16 plan on allowing the students to keep the devices over the summer break. If Region 16 determines that the devices need to be turned in for some reason (maintenance, troubleshooting, etc) students will be required to surrender the device.
Parents may purchase a protection plan for $30 per school year to cover accidental damage such as a broken screen, liquid spillage, and dropped device. That fee remains at $30 and covers the device until the end of the school year regardless of the date the protection plan is purchased. Students are responsible for the general care and content accessed through the Chromebook.
Because the device is property of the school district, it is important that students and parents understand the Acceptable Use Policy set forth by Region 16. For more detailed information, please see Board of Education Policy 6141.321.
Lifespan: How long should Chromebooks last?
Chromebooks have very few moving parts in them and generate very little heat. Therefore the life expectancy — so long as they are treated appropriately — is fairly significant. Six years is not unrealistic with proper care. Additionally, the devices have powerful processors, adequate memory, and automatically update the latest software and security features without anything needing to be done by the student.
Viruses: What about viruses getting onto the Chromebook?
Since the applications run through the online browser, there is little worry about having viruses infect the Chromebook’s software or hardware. However it is still import to practice good online hygiene with respect to what links you click and how you assess the authenticity of the sites you visit.
Logging in: What logins will students use to get into their Chromebooks?
Regardless of locations, students will each have an email address that is their primary login and username. The password will be the same as the current Windows password, and the Google credentials are reused on a number of sites that allow authentication through Google like Khan Academy.
Monitoring Students: What happens if students have been visiting inappropriate websites?
Is it possible to opt out of the 1:1 Chromebook Program?
No. Chromebooks are expected to become an integral part of the education all students receive at the Region 16 Schools. It should be considered as essential to the educational process as a textbook and we want them to take advantage of the powerful learning resources available with it. Region 16 Schools has take appropriate steps to provide students with a safe environment while using the device.
Can parents use the Chromebooks?
When a student is logged into the Chromebook, parents can use them to check on student work, view their browsing history or connect with teachers through Schoology or via email. The Chromebooks are NOT at any time intended for personal use for the student, other family members, or their parents.
Personal Google Accounts: Can the Chromebooks be used with a non-district username?
No. Students and staff cannot access a district-owned Chromebook with any other login other than their district-assigned email. For example, students will not be able log using their personal Gmail account on a district-provided Chromebook.
However, if a student logs into another device (home computer’s Chrome browser, smartphone Google app, etc) with their school GSuite username all of their information (bookmarks, emails, documents, presentations, applications, etc.) will be available to them on that device when using a Chrome browser.
Privacy: What about Privacy?
Regional School District 16 is responsible for protecting and safeguarding the confidentiality of student information. The Board of Education recognizes the need to comply with the legal state and federal requirements regarding the confidentiality, access to and amendment of student records. The procedures for the confidentiality of student records shall be consistent with federal statutes, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), as amended, and its implementing and revised regulations, The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, and the Connecticut General Statutes.
Yes. Using GoGuardian and the district web filter can track information on what sites students were on, when they were on them, and how long they were on those sites both in and out of school. Students should only visit sites that are appropriate, related to their education and not in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy. Violations of the policy can result in disciplinary action, including the student being suspended from using the school network and device use.
Additionally, Region 16 Schools will never remotely access the camera or microphone of any district assigned device outside of school.
More information can be found in the District Assigned Device Policy.
Region 16 Proposed three-year plan
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Will Chromebooks be kept by students over summer?
Yes for WRHS students. Region 16 plans on allowing students to keep their devices over the summer to use with summer work. If a family elects not to keep a device over the summer, they can check it in at their Media Center at the end of the year and the device will be returned to them once school begins.
Middle School students will not take their devices home during the summer.
Will the school district provide any accessories for the Chromebook?
All students will be provided a charger and protective case for the device. The case is an ‘always on’ case and the students should not remove the device from the case. Each student should have his or her own set of headphones or earbuds to use at school with the device.
Student Absences: What if a student is out of school for an extended period (illness, travel, family emergency, etc.)?
With One to One Chromebooks,, it will become even easier for students to receive work from their teacher. Assignments, readings, and other resources can be placed online and shared with the student who is absent. The student can do the work online from home and share it back with the teacher, through Google or Schoology.
Submitting Work: How can students submit work or assignments via their Chromebooks?
Google Drive and Schoology have features built into it that allow work to be “shared” between teachers and even classmates. Students can create documents, spreadsheets, drawings, photos, presentations and videos.
Each item can be “shared” with a teacher prior to its due date. The teacher can then see the work on his or her own computer to provide feedback or grade it for the student. Students can make revisions and teachers can follow changes using the revision history feature.
Will students be given guidelines or expectations for the Chromebook?
All students and parents will sign the district’s Acceptable Use Policy and District Assigned Device Policy before receiving his or her Chromebook. Failure to adhere to this policy could result in disciplinary action. Students who are negligent with their device might be financially liable to replace the Chromebook.
In what ways will Chromebooks be used in the classroom?
Teachers will integrate Chromebooks into classroom instruction using a variety of proven and emerging methods . Teachers will receive ongoing training on ways to best utilize these devices to maximize students’ critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. Students will be encouraged to use the many Google Apps available to assist with time management and studying, as well as using their device for research and collaboration with peers.
Can the Chromebook be taken home?
Yes, students are expected to take their Chromebook home every night and charge the device. Students should use the device at home to work on class assignments and research. Students are expected to return to school with the Chromebook fully charged every day.
How will students be protected from inappropriate content?
While the district’s Internet filter offers some protection against questionable content, teachers and parents also play a key role. Teachers will use software called GoGuardian to monitor students’ activity on the internet, ensuring that students are on-task. At home, GoGuardian and the District web filter will continue to filter and log online activity. While these are useful tools, they are meant to supplement, not replace, parental monitoring. See Board of Education policy for additional details.
Can the Chromebook be used if we do not have internet access at home?
The devices will only connect to the web wirelessly. However, some features, such as access to the student’s Google Drive, will still work on a limited basis.
The work that is done off-line will be synced when a wireless Internet connection is restored. Here is a complete list of offline capabilities: https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/32146...
Additionally, a Chromebook can connect to:
- USB storage devices, mice and keyboards
- SIM cards
- SD cards
- External monitors and projectors (via HDMI)
- Headphones, earbuds, microphones
Some features of the Chromebook, such as Google Documents, are accessible even without Internet access. Several local public buildings, such as the Beacon Falls and Prospect libraries, offer free wifi. Families with a student who is eligible for free or reduced lunch may also qualify for $9.95/month internet access from Comcast Internet Essentials.
Is it necessary to have a printer at home?
No, it is not necessary to have a printer at home. Students are able to electronically share documents, spreadsheets, and slideshow presentations created through Google Apps directly with peers and teachers. Should students find it necessary to print, they may do so at the school Media Center. Limiting printing is part of Region 16’s goal to be fiscally and environmentally responsible.
Can a Chromebook be brought from home, or is use of the District provided Chromebook required?
Chromebooks brought from home cannot be used. District owned Chromebooks are managed by Region 16 Schools to assign software, wireless security and web filtering. We cannot provide these essential services to devices not owned by Region 16 Schools and therefore privately owned Chromebooks cannot be used at school as part of this program.
Who is responsible for the Chromebook?
Students and parents will be responsible for district-owned technology property that is issued to them, just as they are for other district-owned items such as textbooks, calculators, cameras, athletics equipment or library books. The district will repair or replace the device, but students and parents will be responsible for the cost of those repairs or replaced devices as outlined in the Region 16 District Assigned Device Policy.
However, the liability on families/students can reduced significantly by taking part in the Region 16 CT Chromebook Care Program. For $30 (non-refundable) per year, per device, the warranty will repair or replace the device at a significant savings to the student and his/her family. Choosing to enroll in the Chromebook Care program is optional.
In such cases where a student is suspected of damaging another student’s Chromebook, investigations will be carried by school administration to determine if it was an intentional act of vandalism.
Chromebooks should be kept in their cases at all times, and this expectation should be established with all students. Chromebooks screens are fairly sensitive and the protective case makes a big difference.
What happens if…
The Chromebook isn’t charged?
Students are expected to charge their Chromebook every night at home. A fully charged Chromebook will be able to last the entire school day. Should the Chromebook lose power during the day and need to be recharged, students may check their chromebook in to be charged at the media center. The media center is not meant for students who simply forgot to charge their chromebooks at home. Charging is not allowed in classrooms, hallways, common areas, or anywhere else in school. Chargers should be left at home because of their propensity to be stolen.
There is a technical problem with the device?
Students can open a tech ticket at https://tech.region16ct.org. Tickets opened will go to the IT Department. A kiosk will be available in the media center.
The Chromebook is left at home?
Parents may drop off student Chromebooks in the school’s Main Office. There will also be a limited number of loaners available in the Media Center that students may check out for the day (if available).
The Chromebook is broken?
If the Chromebook is broken students will bring the device to the school IT Department and fill out a tech ticket. While the Chromebook is being repaired, they will be given a loaner (if available). If the student does not have a protection plan, the cost of repairs must be paid prior to fixing the device.
Non-functioning devices should be turned in to the Media Center so a repair can be logged. District technology staff members can repair many problems in-house, which may take a day or two. Other problems may require the devices being sent out for repair, which can take a several days or perhaps longer.
If the problem is not hardware related, the device will be fixed in house and may have to be re-imaged. Any student work should be saved in Google Drive and not on the Chromebook itself since many repairs require erasing the device.
The Chromebook is stolen?
In the case of a stolen device, students or parents must present a police report to the school’s principal within 72 hours of the theft. Lost devices are not covered by the protection plan. Students will be charged no more than $275 for a lost Chromebook and case.
The student no longer attends Regional School District 16?
Chromebooks are the property of Regional School District 16. Should your child leave the district, the Chromebook must be returned to school.