2016 Technology Upgrades

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After three successful years of technology integration using iPads and Google apps for education, we are changing devices.  We are proud to announce our new Chromebook initiative for the 2016-17 school year. Beginning with summer school classes in 2016, the school will be issuing each student a school-managed Chromebook.  We have analyzed the increased quality of Chromebooks, alongside Google’s progress in the development of its educational tools, and have come to the decision that this is the best next step to take in the development of our 1:1 program.

A Chromebook is a combination of a laptop and a tablet.  The model the school will select will have touch-screen and flip capabilities to mimic the feel of a tablet.  However, it will also have a full physical keyboard and ports for additional memory using USB drives and SD cards.  It is designed to work almost entirely in the cloud with the goal of giving users a fast and efficient experience.  Because Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome browser, they can be customized through add-ons and extensions through the Chrome Web Store.

In addition to these features, Chromebooks cost less than other 1:1 devices.  Through Google’s Chrome Management Console, they can be managed more effectively both on the network and in the classroom.  Analyzing the devices students end up using in college, we have found that an overwhelming majority rely on laptops.  By providing them with an experience on a Chromebook, we will provide them with a tool that will better prepare them for the technology they will use beyond their time at St. Francis.  On these devices, students will be working in an environment better suited for research and collaboration.  In addition, students will keep these devices throughout their time at SF and will be given an option to buy the Chromebook at the end of their four years.

A select group of students and teachers will be using Chromebooks during the spring semester to provide helpful feedback before the school-wide adoption next fall.  To report on this progress and to provide additional information., the school will have Chromebooks on display at several upcoming events.  They will be available for parents to see during the High School Placement Test on January 16 and SWAP Day on January 29.  We will also host information nights for families in March.  We look forward to answering questions and demonstrating the power of these incredible tools.