The Class of 2021 received new chromebooks from Walpole Public Schools at the end of August. This initiative is the first step in Walpole Public School’s 1:1 Chromebook Program.
“We could not fund a full 9 to 12 roll-out all at once. This is a new project that will be done in at least 2 phases,” Walpole Public School’s Director of Technology Integration Ann Arpin said. “With enough funding to provide students in just one grade with a new Chromebook, starting with freshmen, and having them keep them over their 4 years at the high school would be the best choice to build and sustain a logical and cost-effective roll-out.”
Freshmen students received their own Chromebooks during orientation on Aug. 29 as long as they submitted $40 and a signed loaned agreement on the first day of school. The Chromebooks were purchased with funds from Walpole High School’s budget.
“For the high school’s Phase 1 of this initiative, last spring Mr. Imbusch collaborated with Department Chairs to identify funds from their remaining budgets, and identified other accounts from which he could allocate funds,” Arpin said.
The Chromebooks have allowed students and staff to adapt to 21st century technological advances by replacing textbooks.
“One positive to having chromebooks is the amount of free space in my bag,” Freshman Benjamin Skypeck said. “Textbooks would have taken up a lot of space but the chromebook is my textbook now.”
Although only the Class of 2021 has their own Chromebooks right now, the technology staff plans to expand the program to upperclassmen in the upcoming year.
“Next year, the plan is to allocate the funding for the next incoming Freshmen class, and take the existing stock of Chromebooks in carts at the high school and distribute those to Juniors and Seniors,” Arpin said.
Not only do the Chromebooks change the learning environment for students in school, they also offer students, as well as families, another form of technology for outside of the classroom.
“A number of parents said that this would relieve the burden at home of sharing their available computers with multiple children and adults in the family,” Arpin said. “Also, the recognition that digital learning and ubiquitous access to a device will best prepare students for success in high school, as well as for college and careers.”
Arpin spearheaded this project with a goal of making learning through technology more accessible for students.
“With the growth and use of digital resources, teachers were having difficulty scheduling Chromebooks from the carts into their classrooms,” Arpin said. “It was becoming clear that access to digital resources was no longer something that could reasonably be ‘scheduled.’ Students should have access as needed throughout the day.”
The only issue freshmen students have identified with this new program is the fact that they must charge their Chromebooks before coming into school.
“The only negative to having chromebooks could be remembering to charge them at home and not being able to use it during class if they are not charged” Freshman Alison Fair said.
Although this technological initiative is brand new, it has already allowed Walpole students and staff to take a step towards complete dissemination of educational information online.
“Having access to digital resources 24/7 enables students to collaborate, communicate, create and publish their work in a 21st century learning environment,” Arpin said.