August 22, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria Catholic to give each student a laptop

ELYRIA — An Elyria parochial school will give every student a laptop computer.

Starting in the fall, all students at Elyria Catholic High School will receive a Google Chromebook for use inside and outside of class. The device will cost students $50 that will include a hard cover and insurance.

The school is picking up the $285 cost per book for its projected 450 students. The money for the 1:1 Google Chromebook Initative was raised through donations from anonymous donors, Ridge Tool, EC Gala supporters, alumni, faculty, staff, EC families and the EC Technology Committee, which has researched the initiative for three years.

“Now is the time to do this,” Principal Amy Butler said. “We think Google Chromebook is the perfect fit for our faculty and students. We are moving into a new era, giving them a unique opportunity in the digital learning environment.”

The devices will not just yet replace traditional textbooks, but as more publishers make material available online and in digital form, the transition will be natural, Butler said.

“When every student has a device, we are able to bring digital and information literacy skills for the future to the forefront, as well as engage students in critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication,” she said.

The school has Wi-Fi access and already encourages students to use their own devices in their studies.

“Teachers have long been looking for curriculum that is not isolated to textbooks because it’s what students are demanding,” Butler said.

Project manager and math teacher Kevin Machovina said the one-to-one initiative will enhance learning.

“Also within Google Drive, they will have a portfolio to track and assess their own learning over the next four years,” he said. “Elyria Catholic is taking a huge step in the right direction in preparing the students to succeed in the digital world we live in today.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • tickmeoff

    Great Idea! Great choice of computer. They are known for their durability. the kids will be using Google apps instead of Microsoft Word,Excel etc. They should also teach a course on privacy and teach students some basic computer tips, such as ( never clicking on links in their E-mail, but to go to the site yourself).

    • Phil Blank

      Its a Chromebook, it runs off the Cloud on the web, not a true laptop and can’t be infected.
      Can’t save anything to a Chromebook either, everything is online.
      If you don’t have a WiFi connection, its useless.

      • Annie

        They aren’t useless without wifi since you can work offline with docs and it updates when you do get online. And as for storing things like pics, that can be done to a flash drive if necessary. The bonus of having so little memory on the Chromebook for students is that they won’t be downloading heavy memory files so it’ll run ridiculously fast and make dubious downloads a non-issue.

        I have one and it has replaced my desktop for all but photo-editing/storage and music/apps for my phone. And that’s cool by me as I prefer to keep that stuff at home anyway. If I want to share something like a photo, I can put it in my docs. No problem.

        If students are without wifi at home, they can go to places where there is free wifi like the library or even some of the many businesses that have it. There is much more access than many might think.

        • Pablo Jones

          Depends on the version of the chromebook that the school buys. My daughter’s has very little memory and it can’t save any documents to it. But what they can save are pictures and videos. And kids being kids that is what all the kids in her class have done, filled up all the memory with pictures and videos.

          • Annie

            That’s very odd. Every Chromebook has Drive and Drive has docs. I wonder what is amiss there. When she gets to the main google search page there should be a little nine-box icon that looks like a keypad in the top right near her log-in name. Clicking on that will open a menu in which a triangle icon exists. That is drive. Clicking on that will take her to a screen where she can hit a button called “create” and the option for “document” will be there.

            Every Chromebook and Google device I have tried, and being a little bit geeky I’ve tried most of them, has docs working.

          • Pablo Jones

            My Chromebook experience is limited to my daughters so that may be the case with others. I know the school locked it down to limit what the kids can do so they may have limited where files could be saved so they won’t have issues of locating files or so that files could be accessed if they left their chromebook at home. If that is the setup EC puts forward the chromebook is practically useless without wifi.

    • Annie

      I agree with you. Courses about digital literacy are important and learning them in less public environments like apps could empower kids by understanding accountability earlier. I hate to think that a kid who posted something dubious when he or she was young and silly might be plagued by it for a lifetime. And apps rock. Group work, paperless assignments, more flexibility of time concerning asking questions which can be done in comments with shared docs. There are many benefits not the least of which is that if they learn in school, they can continue usage with their own personal accounts after graduation. Many many colleges use apps already.

      Sorry to sound like a commercial, but apps have been very useful to me and mine.

    • Pablo Jones

      The durability of the Chromebooks depends on which company manufactures them. Some companies chromebooks aren’t as durable. Things may change in the future, but right now over 95% of companies use Microsoft products. Currently very few companies want to use apps for their software packages especially with Google data mining all the documents. If you want the kids to get ahead they need to get used to the products that are used in the business world.

      • Annie

        It’s more like 89-90 for OSes and that may be shifting as more companies see the sense in things like Open Office and other free software. And within the mobile market, Android blows everyone else away currently. So things are changing. Although, I have to admit, Excel is still something even heavy Google users I know, still like better than the spreadsheet in Drive.

        In truth the best thing kids could learn is to be literate, proficient and flexible with any technology they come across. The skills do transfer. I’m not even at noob level with many open source technologies, but when I’ve used them, I can get around pretty easily.

        As for durability, I agree with you about makers and variability. Samsung has served my clumsy self well, but Asus (who made my MacBook) has been a nightmare. And the HP (I like to keep up with the Microsoft too) seems to be near bulletproof. ha!

        • Pablo Jones

          When I was in school it was a similar experience. Except is was apple products that the schools pushed. And we see where apple products stand in the business world. Sure there are a few niche industries that use them but it is limited.

          Small business may use Open Office but in the majority of businesses MS Office will be the primary software package. Granted is you know how to use a word processing program you will be able to use any other word processing program. But you should want to make the kids proficient on the programs they will use.

  • Mark B

    I can see it now , a new tax levy to give Chrome books to Elyria City School Kids

    • Annie

      I wonder if textbooks can be accessed online. If that is so, then 300 bucks a kid might actually be a savings compared to the cost of purchasing textbooks. Not sure about that though.

      • Pablo Jones

        virtual text books usually cost almost the same as a regular text book. And they usually can’t be transferred from year to year. So each year they will have to buy the books again.

        • Annie

          True. However, there is a myriad of public domain works available (a good amount of what is in some textbooks is public domain anyway) that would suit for some classes, and of course there are the online academies like Kahn that can deliver excellent enhancement and instruction too. But there would be no bells and whistles like having follow up questions with annotations from the editors that text books usually have.

          • Pablo Jones

            I don’t know of any school that uses public domain textbooks. Not that there is anything wrong with them. Some of the books schools pick are horrible at explaining topics. But there is a difference between wishful thinking and the reality of what school districts will do. Cost saving steps are rarely the path that is taken.

  • Cletus

    Don’t be fooled folks…the computer is part of the tuition cost. Nice try on selling the public though.

  • Annie

    This is exciting. I hope that it goes well for them!

  • Barb Shuman

    While I think this is great for the kids, I do have a couple of concerns which I hope people have thought about. One is what if the kids can’t afford the $50.00 price? Some parents do make enough to afford the tuition and the extras included with the tuition but what if the $50.00 is just $50.00 too much? What will happen then? I know some of those schools can be pretty pricey. Also what about the public school kids? Don’t they deserve the same footing for their education? Is there something in place for them as well? I think all students should have the same educational opportunities when getting a head start in today’s world. I’m happy for the kids but also looking out for the less fortunate ones.

    • golfingirl

      The students at Elyria High School get a “lap dance” at Bugsy’s, while the students at Elyria Catholic get a laptop.

      These kids go to a private school, their parents pay for it, in addition to their property taxes to support the public schools.

      My guess is, these kids attending Elyria Catholic probably already own a laptop computer anyway. So not sure why this is newsworthy.

    • Pablo Jones

      I believe the kids at EC also have a religion class. I think to make things fair the kids in the public school should also have a religion class so that they will be on equal footing as well.

    • Sis Delish

      Guess what?

      You’ve just been selected to Fund ALL Chromebooks for every EHS Student! Yes, that’s right, now you can fork over 10′s of Thousands of your hard earned cash to satisfy your desire to provide “all students should have the same educational opportunities when getting a head start in today’s world”.

      We thank you!