Chromebooks for Class of 2020 change approach to learning


Kelsey Ward

Grace Gaydosh, Mckensi Sensibaugh, Emma France and Devin Wynne work on an English project on their chromebooks.

by Kelsey Ward, Reporter

In 2014, FCPS established a program to give every student their own device to use in the classroom. This 1:1 program distributed Chromebooks to all Class of 2020 members this year.

The Chromebooks are used in the classroom and can be taken home for them to use.

“Chromebooks have been a good fit because of the price point. It’s ease of operation, the long battery it possesses, and they power up easily and can be managed by FCPS,” said Ms. Marsha Thompson, Media Specialist in charge of Chromebook distribution.

“I use my Chromebook regularly in two of my classes and for homework about three times a week,” said Rachel Hall, Class of 2020 member

The idea is that every year for the next four years the incoming freshman class will get  Chromebooks to use for the year. It will take four years to get enough Chromebooks for every student be 1:1. The incoming freshmen will get the Chromebooks that the seniors from the previous year used.

The hardest part of acquiring the Chromebooks is financing. Each Chromebook is a little over $200.

Some parents have expressed concerns about the safety and security of information when using the Chromebooks. However, student data cannot be accessed by Google.

Each Chromebook is connected to the FCPS network. This allows for every keystroke to be tracked by FCPS and informs the school of any inappropriate use.

Chromebooks use the Google platform. The teachers and students have access to a variety of Google Apps for Education, such as Google Classroom and Google Drive.

“I have changed my approach, and we are both (teachers and students) learning more and more about how to effectively use to Chromebooks. We have a teacher group that meets each week to work on lessons.” said Mrs. Natalie Rebetsky, ninth grade English teacher.

Many of the teachers are using the Chromebooks to their advantage. Since the school is trying to conserve paper, most assignments are now online instead of printed.

“Everything is now electronic, so it is a disadvantage for the upperclassmen because we have to use the slow computers,” said Lexi Watson, Class of 2017.

Many are wondering: is one-to-one Chromebooks the best educational decision?

“I think that they are good for educational use. An important part of learning is relating what is in class to current events, and Chromebooks give students access to current events,” said Sarah Hall, Class of 2018.

It grants students the ability to have computer access at all times throughout the day. Teachers can now do online activities during class whenever they please.

A downside of the Chromebooks is that they could cause students to be distracted during class. With a teacher-approved device in front of students for entire class periods, they could become preoccupied and not focus on the teacher.

“We do a lot of closing the Chromebooks so I can be sure I have everyone’s attention,” said Rebetsky.