The Dexter Community Schools Board of Education passed a resolution to purchase 575 Chromebooks for Wylie Elementary School students and staff.
The purchase is the next phase in the district’s efforts to increase technology use the classroom and will continue the district’s one-to-one instructional program.
“It’s been a huge benefit to our K-2 students,” Technology Coach Meredith Nickerson said. “We want to keep our momentum going with our technology initiative.”
The purchase of the Chromebooks will come to $158,000. But according to Superintendent Chris Timmis there’s room in this year’s budget for the purchase because of some unexpected grants and refunds from the state. The district had budgeted $140,000 to pay for iPads for K-2 students but the cost of those were covered by two $35,000 state grants and one $70,000 refund leaving the budgeted $140,000 available to use toward the Chromebooks.
Nickerson said the decision to go with Chromebooks was based on what the device can do.
“The great thing about using this kind of platform is that most of the things that we can do educationally on an iPad we can find a way to do it on this device,” she said. “And a lot of it tends to be free as opposed to paid apps.”
Chromebooks are also cheaper than their Apple-product counterparts, around $190 per device.
Part of technology education at Dexter is to make sure children are fluent in multiple technology platforms, Nickerson said.
“We don’t want our students married to just one device,” she said. “In the working world and real life there’s all kinds of platforms out there. So as they move through Dexter schools we want to expose them to different platforms.”
The Chromebooks will also replace outdated technology at Wylie. The devices that are currently used are slow, clunky and get in the way of teaching, according to Wylie Media Specialist Cheryl Whitfield.
“I work with all 500-plus kids on technology everyday,” she said. “It’s quite frustrating, the kids get quite frustrated. We’ve made Powerpoints and the kids come back the next week and they’re gone. I’ve had tears, I’ve had frustration. I only have an hour every week with the kids and I spend a lot of my time just getting them logged in. ”
The technology department will also be working on refurbishing teachers’ laptops for student use over the next few years.
The resolution to purchase the Chromebooks passed unanimously.