Students at Springer high and junior high school will have a new tool at their disposal for the 2014-15 school year.
In the coming weeks, the district will distribute 92 Google Chromebook devices to students, marking the start of a one-to-one learning environment at the district’s secondary education school.
Superintendent Cynthia Hunter says technology is an integral part of a student’s education and the new technology, which is similar to a laptop, will better prepare students for a technology-driven world.
“It is a whole new way of integrating technology,” Hunter said. “Students will actually get to take their Chromebook home for homework. They will interact with their Chromebook in every class. There is a system in place that allows the student to interact with their teachers and send in homework or papers for editing.”
The district made the purchase of the Chromebook devices following the award of a $65,000 grant from the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust. The grant funding designated $40,000 towards the purchase of new equipment and $25,000 to be spent for teacher professional development in technology.
This recent grant marks the second time the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust has donated to the school district located north of Ardmore. During the 2008-09 school year, Springer Public Schools was awarded a grant that was utilized for placing smart boards and wireless laptops in the classrooms.
Springer was one of many districts in the state to be awarded grant funding to improve technology on their campus this year. Since the start of the year, the trust has awarded $1.2 million in grant funding to 19 schools, according to the Oklahoma Educational Technology Trust.
“Through the OETT grants, we are focused on creating long-term change in our schools,” said Phil Berkenbile, chair of the trust’s board. “Our goal is to improve overall student achievement and learning through the use of technology and getting the technology in the students’ hands.”
Hunter says the technology will be in students hands and on their school desks very soon. Students will use their Chromebook, which has a physical keyboard, for note taking and working on classroom assignments during the school day. The devices run the Google Chrome OS operating system, which allows the students to have access to Google Docs and Google Drive for storage. Additionally, the devices are designed for running various applications and can easily access the internet.
Small in size, a Chromebook will not take up much desk space and is easy to transport to and from school.
Hunter says students will be encouraged to take home their Chromebook in the evening for completing their homework. This will eliminate any barriers students without a home computer may face.
“This is going to level the playing field,” Hunter said.
Purchase of Google Chromebook devices for the classroom is on the rise. Google announced in July that school districts purchased more than 1 million Chromebooks during the second quarter of 2014.
For teachers, the Chromebook devices are intended to expand their methods of teaching and give more opportunities to introduce a lesson, connect with students through the programs and bring educational apps into their classroom.
Teachers have already begun to attend the training provided by the grant and training will continue throughout the school year, Hunter said.
“They have been preparing in their classes to introduce the new applications and are getting ready for the new ways of teaching,” Hunter said.