Wednesday, June 19, 2019 Medina 70°
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Medina students to get Chromebooks

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MEDINA — Medina Schools will provide each high school student a Chromebook for the 2019-20 school year. Both middle schools will get devices in 2020-2021 and then all elementary schools, grades two to five, will follow in 2021-2022.

The district will be the last in the county to adopt the 1:1 initiative. One-to-one computing is an education effort to increase technological preparedness.

The district currently has about 4,050 devices. In order to be 1:1, it needs to purchase about 1,500 more at a cost of about $330,000, according to technology director Ryan O’Cull. He said the initial allotment will be the largest financial investment in the 1:1 program.

The district will eventually have to recycle about 800 devices once they become outdated.

Only high school students will be allowed to take the devices home. Students will have the same Chromebook issued for each of their four years. They will return it during the summer months. Students in grades two to eight will have only have access to their Chromebooks at school.

“We’re not just jumping into this head first,” Superintendent Aaron Sable said.

The District Technology Vision Committee, comprised of teachers and administration, has been meeting all school year to plan the course of action.

Many area districts are already 1:1, including Brunswick, Black River, Cloverleaf and Buckeye. Wadsworth will make the move next year, as well.

The students aren’t the only ones getting devices.

“We want to make sure that all teachers get a Chromebook so they will be prepared to use them with students,” said Tina Cassidy, director of instruction. “There are so many apps and programs that our students can use to enhance and strengthen their learning.”

The policies and guidelines, along with a FAQ sheet for parents with regard to the devices, can be found at www.medinabees.org/Departments/Department of Instruction. Parents can purchase an optional $30 insurance policy for the Chromebooks

After parents sign a device agreement, the Chromebooks can be picked up in August.

At the elementary level, some students will be using tablets instead of Chromebooks in the classroom. They will eventually be transitioned to Chromebooks.

“I can’t figure this out, but there’s a higher damage rate at middle school level,” Sable said facetiously.

He said the program was stretched out over a three-year period to minimize the costs.

“We’re not just putting devices in schools, we’re putting in devices that enhance education,” Sable said.

The district previously upgraded its infrastructure for internet access.

“It paced the way to do this initiative,” Sable said. “We’re going to have 2,000 students logging in at the same time.”

The superintendent said all of the devices will run through a filter that will make sure they access proper information, even when they are taken home.

“What we are not doing is monitoring everything they are doing,” Sable said. “We’re not accessing the cameras.”

If the student visits an inappropriate site, it kicks out a report to the district.

“We’re insuring they are not going to any inappropriate webpages,” he said.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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