Dear Parents and Guardians:
April is here already! It is hard to believe that we are already welcoming Spring. March certainly came in like a lion! Spring brings many exciting things within the Sparta School District. At our May 1 Board of Education meeting, we will be asking the Board to approve our 2017-2018 school budget. Included within this is the district 1:1 Initiative. Our district has constructed a plan that will allow students in grades 6 through 12 to be provided a Chromebook that they will have access to 24/7. Classrooms in grades PreK-5 will be outfitted with computer carts, allowing teachers and students to have access to machines as needed throughout the school year.
We are excited about this initiative, as we believe it will serve to enhance the already strong educational programming in place for our students. To assist our community to begin to learn about our plan, this month's newsletter will begin to offer information that may provide insights into the benefits that students may encounter over the coming years.
SPARTA SCHOOL DISTRICT'S 1:1 VISION
The Sparta School District strives to provide personalized instruction for our students, staff, and community that promotes effective problem solving and communication while empowering freedom of choice, encouraging exploration of thinking through a blend of traditional and digital education, and developing individuals who are responsible digital citizens.
What are they, and why did we choose them for our 1:1 Initiative?
Chromebooks are one of the most popular choices for school districts who have gone or are planning to go 1:1. According to Google, Chromebooks are being used in schools more often than all other devices combined. So, why have they become the device of choice?
- The first reason that these devices are quickly becoming the standard is the price point. In the IDC White Paper entitled "Quantifying the Economic Value of Chromebooks for K-12" it was reported that Chromebooks have a 61% total lower cost of ownership over other devices.
- Another large selling point for schools is the privacy and security features associated with Chromebooks. Our IT department will be able to select the privacy settings for all district machines, including filtering content wherever the device is located. They will also be able to push out apps that will assist in the learning process.
- Chromebooks are noted for the speed in which they log on and allow users to begin working. As opposed to traditional laptops and/or desktops which take longer to log in due to the varied operating systems and programming that must load, a Chromebook takes approximately 10 to 13 seconds to log on and allow students to begin working.
- Chromebooks utilize Google Apps for Education, which the Sparta School District began utilizing two years ago. Google has reported that over 50 million students are currently using Google Apps for Education, or GAFE. Through GAFE, students can utilize Drive and have access to all of their work from any internet connected device, including their Chromebook. Since students will be utilizing GAFE, their work is automatically saved - so no more working for hours only to have your machine shut down and the user loses everything!
- Chromebooks still offer many of the tools used on traditional laptops. In this, they have a webcam, a mic, a USB slot, and an SD card slot.
- Due to their Operating System (OS), Chromebooks do not get viruses.
- Lastly, Chromebooks have access to hundred of free apps and extensions that will aid our staff and students within the learning process.
These are just some of the reasons behind the District's choice to utilize Chromebooks within our 1:1 initiative. Please view the following short videos that may help provide further insight:
More on the district's technology initiatives in April Curriculum Letter Part II