Expanding on Beachwood Middle School’s one-to-one MacBook laptop program, Beachwood High School students will receive Google Chromebooks for the 2013-2014 school year. The Chromebooks will provide students in grades 9-12 with 24-hour access to class information and instructional resources.
The Chromebooks were selected as the most effective device after separate groups of high school students piloted Chromebooks, iPads and MacBook Pros during a portion of the 2012-2013 school year. Student feedback suggested the Chromebooks best met their educational needs and were most conducive to collaborative learning. Chromebooks are also significantly less expensive than iPads and MacBook Pros.
The Chromebooks, which run on the Google platform, are also most compatible with the district’s successful conversion to Google Apps for Education during the 2012-2013 school year. Students, teachers and staff have utilized Google’s cloud-based technology platform for document sharing, email and calendar collaboration. This web-based “green” solution gives students and staff greater access to files and emails that are stored online so they can work collaboratively to edit papers, develop group presentations, and provide feedback from anywhere they have Internet access.
Last year’s other significant technology enhancement was the conversion of Beachwood’s student information system to Infinite Campus, a more powerful, web-based tool that allows staff, students and parents to more effectively and securely track schedules, grades, attendance, contact and medical information. Parents can access all of this information from a computer or mobile app.
“We’re providing students, staff and parents with more efficient tools to access resources and information, and to communicate more effectively,” said Ken Veon, the district’s director of curriculum and technology.
“It’s not about the technology,” Veon adds. “Rather, it’s about the learning that results from the technology.”
Other upgrades planned for the 2013-2014 school year include:
- All access points in the district will be updated to complete a world-class network with high-speed and dependable Internet for students and staff.
- Leveraging the district’s one-to-one device program, students in grades 6-12 and their teachers will expand the use of Blackboard for downloading class materials, videos, quizzes, and uploading homework and assessments. More than 60 percent of colleges and universities nationwide use Blackboard.
- All Beachwood Middle School classrooms will have short-throw projectors with Apple TVs. Classrooms in the renovated Beachwood High School were similarly outfitted last school year. BMS teachers will also receive new Macbook Pros.
- Hilltop Elementary School will expand its iPad program to 5th grade science and 4th grade language arts. Last year, fifth grade teachers successfully piloted an iPad program for reading classes.
- Bryden Elementary School will receive a cart of iPad minis for classroom instructional use to complement its sets of iPod touches already being utilized.