22 Dec Why Chesterfield County Has No Regrets About Using Chromebooks in Schools
Chesterfield County Public Schools set records after purchasing over 32,000 Chromebooks in 2014. Now, the district is deploying Chromebooks in elementary schools in hopes of forging ahead with blended learning.
The name “Chesterfield County” is well-known among school districts that are exploring their options for blended learning and educational technology. In 2014, this Virginia district famously contracted 32,475 Chromebooks for a one-to-one initiative that included all middle schools and high schools. Yet, unlike the hasty and chaotic agreement between Apple and the Los Angeles Unified School District, Chesterfield County’s purchase followed a careful process in which select educators piloted six devices.
In addition to Chromebooks, Chesterfield originally tested iPads, Kindle Fire tablets, Windows 8 tablets, Android tablets and Windows 7 notebooks with students at a variety of grade levels. By 2012, the district was transitioning teachers and students to using Google Apps for Education, citing the suite’s effortless scalability as a major deciding factor. The shift helped administrators pursue a blended learning model in which teachers combine independent online instruction with one-on-one teaching.
Now, the district is making early plans to deploy over 13,000 Chromebooks in elementary schools. Under the current proposal, one-to-one distribution in fourth and fifth grade will begin by the 2019-2020 school year, while second- and third-grade students will enjoy a 2:1 ratio.
Chesterfield currently has about 95 computers for 700 elementary students, and the laptops in computer labs are scheduled for replacement in 2019. However, the district’s blending learning model and Chromebook and tablet deployments may eliminate the need for computer labs altogether. Providing computerized instruction for introductory learning in subjects such as world languages also frees up teachers to focus on advanced topics at higher learning tiers.
Administrators hope that making these financial investments now will yield better learning results in the future and help the district redistribute resources (including teachers) where they are needed most. No one can predict how the technology market may change, but the for the foreseeable future, Chesterfield County is happily moving into the next phase of Chromebook deployment.
Dell Chromebook 11 | Acer C720 / C740 | Asus C200 | Lenovo Chromebook | HP Chromebook | MacBook Air | MacBook Pro