GALLIA COUNTY — Gallia County Local Schools are integrating Chromebooks into their educational plans for the present and future in order to compete with the demands of modern society and to get their students on equal ground with larger school communities, as well as digital private schools.
According to Gallia County Local Schools Technology Coordinator Todd Boothe, the computer devices cost a little under $200 with purchasing agreements and can easily make up for the cost of a textbook. Boothe said the way things are looking the devices are expected to last between three to five years, if students continue to care for them as they have, before needing replaced with more advanced models.
“Our students treat these Chromebooks like they do their own phones,” said Gallia Local Superintendent Jude Meyers. “You see them walking around class and at games with their (Chromebook) bags and it’s becoming a regular scene like a normal bookbag.”
Rochelle Halley, Gallia Local Schools director of instructional services, noted the use of digital textbooks would alleviate weight on students in carrying bags as well as the need to purchase updated editions of books. Teachers are being instructed in the use of Google Classroom, a learning platform aimed to assist schools in simplifying, grading and handing out assignments. Gallia Local School officials likened the program to college platforms like Blackboard which enable students to do and hand homework in wherever they have an internet connection.
Currently, elementary level students have access to devices based upon their homeroom assignment but the devices never leave the classroom. Sixth through eighth grade students can sign out devices and take them between classes before returning them at the end of the day. All high school students have been assigned devices at the beginning of the school year which they take home with them in order to complete homework assignments. Homework is uploaded to a cloud-like program which is either accessed though the child’s home internet or when they return to school.
According to Boothe, the Chromebooks come with a dual core, 2.16 GHz Intel processor. They have 4 gigabytes of RAM and a 16 gigabyte solid state drive for memory. Students carry around a relatively small device with an 11 inch screen.