What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a laptop that runs the Chrome OS, a cloud-based operating system. The Chromebook utilizes cloud-based storage, web applications, and Google Apps for Education. Since Chromebooks operate using the Chrome OS they boot in seconds unlike computers running a Windows or Mac OS. Additionally, they are by design not vulnerable to viruses and most malware that impacts other operating systems.
Austin School District has chosen the Chromebook because it is a rugged laptop built to withstand everyday school activities. Students will have a 16GB hard drive to store files directly onto the computer for offline work, and USB peripherals will work with the Chromebook. There is also an SD card slot in the event a student needs additional local storage capacity.
ARE THE CHROMEBOOKS FILTERED AT SCHOOL? AT HOME?
The short answer is yes to both. We have software on the Chromebooks that filters the content both at school and at home. We do think it is important to know that no filter is 100% effective at blocking questionable content on the Internet. The Internet changes much faster than content filtering can adapt. That is also why we will be teaching students more about digital citizenship and Internet safety. The world we live in is hyper connected, and we believe it is our responsibility in our schools to help children learn the power of those connections but also the potential perils.
WHO MAKES THE DECISION ON WHAT IS FILTERED OR NOT FILTERED FROM THE INTERNET?
The Children’s Internet Protection Act requires school districts as a condition of using federal E-rate dollars to filter access to depictions that are obscene, child pornography and harmful to minors. Read more about that here: https://www.fcc.gov/guides/childrens-internet-protection-act No filter is 100% effective with as rapidly as the Internet changes, so we also implement specific lessons in Internet Safety from Common Sense Media. If a site is submitted for review, it is evaluated against the stated educational benefit and potential for harm or misuse, and filtered or not filtered accordingly.
WHAT IF MY CHILD GOES TO INAPPROPRIATE SITES?
Progressive discipline will be administered according to the Student Handbook, and we will use these as opportunities for learning as warranted by the facts of each individual instance. Our belief is that we are also teaching students to use resources effectively, ethically and productively, and we will use indiscretions as teaching opportunities to reinforce those aspects of this work.
WHO WILL BE RECEIVING THE CHROMEBOOKS?
Students enrolled in grades 9-12 are included in this project.
DO I HAVE TO HAVE A CHROMEBOOK?
We hope that you will want your child to participate fully in a connected technology experience, having full access to multiple learning perspectives and opportunities. If your child has a device that meets the minimum specifications, that is awesome. You are welcome to bring it and use it at your own risk, even at school.
WHAT IF I DON’T WANT MY CHILD TO HAVE A CHROMEBOOK TO BRING HOME?
In AISD we are defining access to technology tools as part of our educational program, which includes the ability to complete work and assignments at home. Students may be able to store their chromebook at school, but the intent is for students to have use at school and at home.
WHAT IF MY CHILD LOSES THEIR COMPUTER?
It is most important to report a lost device at the campus immediately. This will begin the recovery process quickly. The cost of a replacement Chromebook is $315.00, however the district has several strategies and tools in place to help recover the device. This can limit or even eliminate charges associated with replacing the computer, if the device is reported missing immediately.
HOW DOES MY STUDENT STORE THEIR COMPUTER DURING PE OR BAND OR AFTER SCHOOL SPORTS?
The Chromebooks are small enough to fit into a backpack and would be stored in the same secure location as school materials are stored currently for these types of events.
HOW WILL WE KNOW IF THIS INITIATIVE IS EFFECTIVE? WHAT COUNTS AS EVIDENCE OF SUCCESS?
As students become more adept at using chromebooks and other forms of technology to support their learning, we should see several things:Technology will help prepare students for their future careers, which will inevitably include the use of wireless technology; students will be able to access the most up-to-date information quicker and easier than ever before, and make better decisions about the most appropriate information to use; using technology gives students additional ways in which they can interact with their classmates and students in other schools by encouraging collaboration; Technology helps students take more control over their own learning. They will become better at learning how to make their own decisions and become better thinkers, ultimately resulting in stronger achievement.
WHAT SHOULD I START TO SEE WITH DIFFERENCES IN LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR MY CHILD?
More curiosity and engagement in learning to find out more information and solve relevant problems using multiple resources and skills. Lessons and assignments that involve collaboration and communication, which is a common requirement of today’s employers.
HOW CAN I STAY IN TOUCH WITH WHAT MY CHILD IS DOING IN SCHOOL WITH THE NEW TECHNOLOGY?
We will be providing updates in our school newsletters and websites regarding how chromebooks are being used to support your student’s learning Best of all - ask your child what they are learning and doing with their new tool.
WHERE DO I (AS A PARENT) GET INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE MY STUDENT’S CHROMEBOOK AT HOME?
We will post information on the website as we cull resources. A quick Google search for using a Chromebook will find a plethora of resources on use of this tool.