14 May District Hosts Boot Camp to Teach Students Proper Chromebook Care
Giving students a thorough hands-on introduction to Chromebooks may help schools reduce damage in the long run.
As the Smithfield Public School District in Rhode Island rolled out Chromebooks to grades three, six, and nine this April, administrators at Gallagher Middle School christened the new devices by organizing a student boot camp. Sixth-grade students gathered in the cafeteria to learn the ins and outs of Chromebooks and the Google Apps suite.
Administrators also used the time to show students the proper ways to handle their Chromebooks to prevent breakage. The threat of damage is neverending, especially in districts where students are allowed to take their computers home after school or over the summer.
Like many fellow districts navigating 1:1 programs, Smithfield issues a usage policy before rollouts to prohibit students from using the devices for non-educational purposes. Administrators also make efforts to educate parents and establish accountability, but ultimately, they have no means of knowing how students carry, store, and handle devices off school grounds.
Assistant Principal Ken Hopkins hosted the boot camp and kept students entertained by integrating games throughout the activity. Hopkins hopes the session will set the tone for the remainder of the 1:1 program, helping students feel engaged and invested in their education.
The district’s plan is for students to keep their computers for three years before being issued a new one. Based on this model, all students in grades three to 12 will have Chromebooks within three years. Of course, these plans largely rely on keeping the breakage rate under control.
In the meantime, parents have the opportunity to choose one of three insurance options for their child’s Chromebook. Smithfield also outfitted all of the devices with protective cases, which amounted to roughly $12,000. Cases are generally the first line of defense, but they’re useless if students have to remove them to use the computer.
The best option for Smithfield and other districts is to purchase protective cases designed to stay on at all times, such as the Chromebook ZIP Cover by Volume Cases. At the very least, a safely encased Chromebook stands a chance of survival if a student happens to knock it off a desk or shove it in an overloaded backpack.
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