By: Auston Abrego, Ausitn High School student
Every student at Austin High is able to check out one of over 2,000 Chromebooks this year through the Everyone:1 initiative. Originally piloted at Garza, it is now being implemented for the first time on a large scale at Austin High. As the year progresses, it will be rolled out at all the other high schools in the district.
“This is one of those things where we know that [students] need this. We know it is going to create a shift in the classrooms for how learning happens,” technology officer for learning and systems Kevin Schwartz said. “I hope this initiative will benefit students in a thousand different ways. Some students it might be their first time having a computer, for some it might be a way to solve a language barrier, for other kids it's a way to personalize learning and do things at their pace.”
The Chromebooks will not only allow students to have personal access to information in the classroom, but also at the comfort of their home. A limited number of hotspots will be available to students who do not have internet access at home.
“AISD partnered with Sprint and received a Sprint 1Million Project grant. Austin High was given 30 hotspots,” principal Amy Taylor said. ‘The devices are for the students to use for 4 years. An application will be available on our school website sometime this fall.”
Through the new Initiative and Grant, students will now be able to be better prepared by accessing programs like BLEND prior to their instructional class time.
“I’m excited about it,” World History teacher Ami Guerrero said. “For one of my classes the students are going to use an online textbook, and we don't even have the physical textbook on campus. Last year I had to xerox the chapters, so this way I can ensure that everyone is getting the information.”
Thinking ahead, Schwartz emphasized the need to tell someone as soon as possible if a student’s laptop is misplaced or stolen.
“The worst case scenario is if a student loses it and doesn't tell us, one of two things can happen; one their learning suffers and also we have less of an ability to get it back,” Schwartz said. “It all hinges on if the student takes good care of the device and tells us if the device is lost or stolen.”
Not every student chose to take advantage of the Everyone:1 initiative, but it’s popularity is expected to grow throughout the school year.
“I chose to get a Chromebook because I like to have resources at my house to do my homework; it’s a real pain to actually go somewhere to use one,” junior Omar Davila said. “It will help me because I can check my grades online and see what I need to work on at any given time.”