What we have done...
Henderson County Schools in currently in year two (2) of a five (5) year plan to introduce additional technology into classroom instruction by the year 2020. Before a long term plan, we initially explored multiple types of devices as part of our local Technology Based 21st Century (TB21) grant in our secondary classrooms. That pilot started with additional training for our teachers and iPads, PC laptops, Microsoft Surfaces, and Promethean Tables (interactive screen tables) in the hands of the students involved in the grant. TB21 has been modified, but the devices are still used daily in those classrooms. Those teachers involved have also been rolled into the second group of 1:1 teachers involved in TB21.
As part of our official 5 year 1:1 plan, we introduced a class set of chromebooks into each school in the district, about 300 chromebooks. We purchased multiple models of chromebooks at various price ranges and feature sets as part of round 2 of the TB21 funds. The teachers involved were given additional 1:1 training and have been meeting regularly to share ideas throughout the 2015-16 school year. The goals of this pilot program were to gather information on the usability, durability, and functionality of each model of device. Through classroom observations, and student/teacher interviews data was gathered and used to determine the appropriate device that will be used as we explore the possibility of a full 1:1 initiative.
What we have learned...
1. Chromebooks are more cost effective than our previous device options.
2. Chromebooks allow fast and reliable use of web resources in the classroom with easy control and support options for the district.
3. We have narrowed the chromebook models to 2 options based on cost, durability and features. One is touch screen capable (Acer R11) and one is not (Dell 11).
4. Several schools have begun using their school based funds to broaden the scope of this project with support from the district office and many more teachers are ready and asking for additional training and devices.
What are we doing now.. next steps...
We are in year two of the implementation. At the beginning of this year we added chromebooks for all the teachers to allow them to become familiar with the student device and to prepare to teach in a student centered 1:1 classroom. These devices have also increased teachers' productivity options in and out of the classroom. We also added many additional classroom sets of chromebooks to the pilot implementation across the district this year. Ongoing training for teachers, students, and administrators is also key to the implementation and is applied in everyday productivity. All students/staff have been given Google Apps for Education (GAFE) Accounts and will have access to these resources on school devices. Next year we plan to grow exponentially the number of devices available to students.
We look forward to this initiative as it helps us provide extraordinary educational opportunities for our students that help them excel as innovative leaders in our society.
Google Apps for Education (GAFE)
Note: Google recently changed the name of "GAFE" to "G-Suite for Education"
What is Google Apps for Education?
HCS Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is an integrated communication and collaboration solution, hosted by Google and managed by HCS. GAFE will provide the ability for HCS students, faculty and staff to communicate, store files, and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in real time from anywhere.
Will my student have access to a Gmail Account?
The email account that your student uses to log into the Chromebook is only used as a username. The email is not functioning and does not have an inbox; all functions of Gmail been turned off.
What about privacy?
HCS is responsible for protecting and safeguarding the confidentiality of student information. HCS has a contract with Google to provide access to Google Apps for Education to its users (students and staff) in a separate domain environment for HCS students and staff. Under our Terms of Service Agreement with Google, like HCS, they are obligated to comply with FERPA regulations. Click here for additional information about GAFE security & privacy.
How protected is my student from outside people?
HCS takes security and privacy of student information very seriously. The HCS Google Apps domain is managed for access by staff and students in HCS, so your student will be able to work and collaborate in a safe and secure online environment.
What assurances has Google given HCS that they will not collect data on my student?
HCS has a signed agreement with Google Apps for Education. HCS Google Apps for Education is compliant with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Who has access to my child’s account?
The Google Apps Terms of Service agreement with HCS contractually ensures that our institution (students, faculty, and staff) are the sole owners of their data. Google will only access content stored when an administrator from HCS grants Google explicit permission to do so; one example would be to investigate inappropriate use.
Who creates the login password?
The HCS Technology Support Staff maintains username and passwords for HCS staff and students. If a parent would like to request access to their child's account they can contact our office and we will be glad to assist if needed.